“She’s by no means an Amazon, but she’s got a great stride on her,” said trainer Pat Reynolds, after Backseat Rhythm withstood an objection by Pure Clan’s jockey Julien Leparoux for interference in the stretch to make the half-length victory official. “It was great coming from that far back with no pace. She’s a no excuse filly. She either gets there or she doesn’t and she always gives you her best.”
Four of her six starts this year entering Saturday were on turf and the grass seems to agree with her. Backseat Rhythm emerged as a Grade 2 winner when she won the Lake Placid at Saratoga Race Course last month, and her steady turf progress earned her a spot in the Garden City.
She made the most of it.
Rated well by jockey Javier Castellano, Backseat Rhythm moved out to gain position on the backstretch behind dawdling fractions of 25.36, 49.98 and 1:14.72 over the yielding course and with the portable rail out nine feet.
At the head of the lane, Backseat Rhythm launched her rally five-wide and got home in 1:51.82. Leparoux, who had traffic trouble most of the way, lodged the objection, saying that Backseat Rhythm had brushed his mount and caused interference.
“She took a long time to get going, and I think she got a little intimidated,” Leparoux said.
The claim of foul was disallowed.
“You have to be patient with her,” Castellano said of his mount. “If you rush her too much, she starts switching leads back and forth. When she went by the other horse, she switched leads. I don’t blame Julien (for claiming foul) he has to protect himself and his client.
“She loved the yielding course. I think this is the best going for her.”
Backseat Rhythm returned $11.80 to win, and Reynolds said that the Grade 1, $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at nine furlongs on the turf at Keeneland on October 11 could be her next stop.
“I hear that when you are invited to the Queen Elizabeth II, they give you a free meal,” Reynolds said. “I’m a sucker for that, so we’ll see what happens.”
Backseat Rhythm is owned by Paul Pompa Jr., who is a partner with IEAH Stable in Kentucky Derby/Preakness/Haskell winner Big Brown. IEAH ran second and third in the Garden City with Pure Clan and Ariege.
“She’s never been on soft turf,” said trainer Robert Holthus of Pure Clan. “It took her a little while to get going. If she would have been herself, she would have powered on by. She wasn’t handling the soft turf as well as she handles firm going.”
My Princess Jess, Raw Silk, Alwajeeha, Shaker (IRE) and Satan’s Circus trailed.
Country Star and Senior Rita Lady were entered for the main track only and were scratched.