Friday, September 18 2009


REUNION, OF SORTS, IN SUNDAY’S JOHN HETTINGER


ELMONT, N.Y. – Sunday marks the inaugural running of the $100,000-added John Hettinger Stakes for New York-bred fillies and mares three years old and up going 1⅛-miles over Belmont Park’s inner turf course.

The race name honors the late John Hettinger, a former New York Racing Association Inc. board member and horse advocate who was also a great supporter of breeding and racing in the state. Hettinger died in September 2008. The race also figures as a prep for the $150,000 Ticonderoga at the same distance on New York Showcase Day, October 24.





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SPY IN THE SKY, MIXED UP HEAD LONESOME GLORY ‘CHASE


ELMONT, N.Y. – Randleston Farm’s Spy in the Sky and William L. Pape’s Mixed Up, winners of the two Grade 1 steeplechase races at Saratoga Race Course this summer, highlight a field of nine for Sunday’s Grade 1, $150,000 Lonesome Glory Steeplechase at Belmont Park.

The 2½-mile race will be run as the first race on Sunday’s 10-race card, which also features the first running of the $100,000-added John Hettinger Stakes for New York-bred fillies and mares.





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JUVENILE CHAMP MIDSHIPMAN TRIUMPHANT IN RETURN


ELMONT, N.Y. – Eclipse Champion Midshipman made a successful 3-year-old debut Friday afternoon at Belmont Park, coming from just off the pace and drawing clear to a 3¼-length victory over Just Ben in a 6½-furlong optional claiming race, which marked his first start over conventional dirt.

Owned by Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin Stable, the son of Unbridled’s Song was making his first start since taking the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita Park last October, which capped a four-race California campaign that resulted in his being voted the nation’s top 2-year-old male.





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BELMONT PARK NOTES: Friday, September 18, 2009


ELMONT, N.Y. – Belmont Stakes and Shadwell Travers winner Summer Bird will work five furlongs after the break Saturday morning on Belmont Park’s main track with Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux aboard as he continues preparations for the Grade 1, $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup on Super Saturday, October 3.

Trainer Tim Ice said the handsome chestnut son of 2004 Belmont Stakes and Travers winner Birdstone has adjusted very quickly to his return to Belmont Park.





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Thursday, September 17 2009


RUTHERIENNE LOOKS TO BE FAIREST OF ALL IN NOBLE DAMSEL


ELMONT, N.Y. – Seven older fillies and mares will take to the turf Saturday in the 22nd running of the Grade 3, $100,000-added Noble Damsel going a mile over Belmont Park’s Widener Turf course.

Heading the field is Virginia Kraft Payson’s Rutherienne, looking to bounce back off a head loss to longshot Salve Germania (IRE) in the Grade 2 Ballston Spa Handicap on the Shadwell Travers Day undercard at Saratoga Race Course August 29.





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D’FUNNYBONE GETS SERIOUS IN FUTURITY; WORSTCASESCENARIO HOPING FOR BEST IN MATRON


ELMONT, N.Y. – At the time, the comparisons were inevitable. In 2007, there was 2-year-old Big Brown romping to an 11¼-length maiden win for owner Paul Pompa, Jr., on Saratoga’s turf course; this year, it was D’Funnybone carrying Pompa’s colors as he rolled to a 10½-length score in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special.

For Pompa, who had purchased Big Brown for $190,000 as a 2-year-old, and trainer Rick Dutrow Jr., who would go on to saddle Big Brown to victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness for Pompa and IEAH Stable, similarities mean very little at this stage. But that could change after Saturday’s 120th running of the Grade 2, $250,000 Futurity at Belmont Park, in which the son of D’wildcat is the 6-5 favorite over seven other 2-year-old colts.





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MIDSHIPMAN’S RETURN HEADLINES BELMONT PARK FRIDAY CARD


ELMONT, N.Y. – The eagerly anticipated 3-year-old debut of Eclipse Champion Midshipman will occur Friday, September 18 in the third race at Belmont Park, a conditioned allowance that represents his first start over a conventional dirt track.

Midshipman, owned by Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin Stable, capped off a stellar four-race juvenile campaign last year with an impressive 1-1/2 length victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita Park on October 25. The Saeed bin Suroor trainee, who also won the Del Mar Futurity, was subsequently named Eclipse Award Champion 2-year-old Colt.





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Monday, September 14 2009


GRAND COUTURIER BOWLS ‘EM OVER IN BOWLING GREEN


ELMONT, N.Y. – Grand Couturier rewarded his connections’ confidence with a rousing last-to-first victory Sunday at Belmont Park to take the 51st running of the Grade 2, $158,000 Bowling Green Handicap and snap a four-race losing streak.

Sent off as the favorite by the crowd of 5,635, the 6-year-old son of Grand Lodge trailed the field through early fractions of 22.95, 46.57 and 1:13.42 set by longshot Up to No Good, then barreled four-wide on the turn to move into contention, taking over in midstretch and pulling off to a two-length victory over Winchester.





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ASHLEY T. COLE RECAP: Sunday, September 13, 2009


ELMONT, N.Y. – Banrock just seems to get better with age.

The 6-year-old gelding proved that point again Sunday, winning the 34th running of the $108,000 Ashley T. Cole for New York-breds for the second consecutive year.





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BELMONT PARK NOTES: Sunday, September 13, 2009


ELMONT, N.Y. – The winners of Saturday’s Grade 1 stakes, Swift Temper in the Ruffian and Miss World in the Garden City, were both reported to be doing well on Sunday morning.

Trainer Dale Romans said that Marc Stanley’s Swift Temper would likely return to Kentucky to prepare for her next start, which is uncertain. Her victory in the Ruffian earned her an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic at Santa Anita Park on November 6 as part of the “Win and You’re In” Challenge series, and Romans said the connections would discuss the possibility of starting in that race.





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Saturday, September 12 2009


MISS GARDEN CITY


ELMONT, N.Y. – Miss World triumphed over seven rivals Saturday afternoon to earn her first stakes victory in the 31st running of the Grade 1, $300,000 Garden City Stakes at Belmont Park.

After breaking sharply, winning jockey Cornelio Velasquez covered up behind horses before taking the filly four-wide on the turn for home. Taking over the lead inside the furlong marker, Miss World edged away to win by 1¾ lengths. Her final time for the nine furlongs over a soft inner turf course was 1:53.55.





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SWIFT TEMPER KEEPS HER COOL IN RUFFIAN HANDICAP


ELMONT, N.Y. – Trainer Dale Romans wasn’t too happy about bringing Swift Temper back on 13 days rest, but the 5-year-old daughter of Giant’s Causeway rebounded in a big way, running down heavily-favored Seventh Street in a muddy stretch drive to notch her first Grade 1 victory in Saturday’s 24th running of the $300,000 Ruffian Handicap at Belmont Park.

Swift Temper, who was beaten nearly 14 lengths by Icon Project in Saratoga’s Grade 1 Personal Ensign on August 30, broke alertly and raced just behind Be Fair and Seventh Street off early fractions of 23.03 and 45.58. Rounding the turn, jockey Alan Garcia took her to the outside and she collared the favorite at the top of the stretch, digging in through the final yards to pull clear to a 1¾ length win.





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