Belmont and Delaware Park offer numerous stakes

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Ted Black

July 8th, 2018

Following a week of hot, humid conditions throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, drier, cooler climes arrivedon Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park and Delaware Park both offered solid cards with stakes on the back end of the program and Laurel Park also hosted a pair of open stakes.

Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park during the track's "Stars & Stripes Fesitival", the stakes action got underway right at the midway point of the card when the famed New York oval presented the Grade III, $300,000 Dwyer Stakes for three-year-olds at one mile over the main track.

Firenze Fire broke alertly and then settled just off the pace and rallied three-wide on the far turn and swept to command and drew off to a seven-length score in 1:33.74. A sophomore son of Poseidon's Warrior trained by Jason Servis for the Mr Amore Stable, Firenze Fire notched his second win in six starts this year and now owns five wins and $850,000 banked from 11 starts and looks destined for a solid career in one-turn affairs. He was trounced in both the Wood Memorial and Kentucky Derby at longer distances but looms a budding star at one mile.

Then one race later on the card the older sprinters were on display when Belmont offered the Grade II, $350,000 Belmont Sprint Championship over seven furlongs on the main track, Limousine Liberal just lived up to his role as the 9-5 favorite when he saved ground down the backside and through the far turn and rallied wide in the lane despite considerable traffic to score by a head over Whitmore in 1:21.53. A six-year-old Successful Appeal gelding trained by Ben Colebrook, Limousine Liberal notched his second win in four starts this year and now owns a 9-6-4 slate and $1.66 million banked from 23 career outings.

Then one race later in the first of two, $1 million races for three-year-olds on the turf, European invader Athena rallied from well off a modest early pace and closed relentlessly in the lane to forge a 10-1 upset in the Grade I Belmont Oaks Invitational. A daughter of Camelot trained by Aidan O'Brien, Athena rallied late to score by two lengths in 1:58.71 for the one-mile and one-quarter affair for her second win in eight starts this year and 10 career tries. Thewayiam rallied late inside to get second despite being blocked and steadied near the eighth pole.

One race later in the Grade II, $700,000 Suburban Stakes at one-mile and one-quarter on the main track, Diversify continues to regain his winning ways after a horrific seasonal debut in the Grade II, $1.2 million Charles Town Classic when he overcame post 10 and led throughout to score by six lengths. A New York-bred five-year-old Bellamy Road gelding trained by Richard Viollette, Jr., Diversify recorded his second win in three starts this year and pushed his seasonal earnings past $550,000 and now sports nine wins and over $1.35 million banked from 14 career outings.

Then one race later in the Grade I, $1 million Belmont Derby for three-year-olds contesting one-mile and one-quarter on the lawn, Catholic Boy once again got the better of Analyze It to score by a determined head in 1:59.28 over the firm course. A sophomore son of More Than Ready trained by Jonathan Thomas, Catholic Boy notched his second straight stakes score and now owns four wins in five tries on the grass and five wins in eight career tries. He had edged Analyze It in the Grade III Pennine Ridge in their previous start and fought back to upend that one again on Saturday.

That same afternoon at Delaware Park, O Dionysus bided his time through the early stages of the $75,000 Cape Henlopen Stakes at one-mile and one-half on the lawn, surged to command at the head of the lane and just outlasted the late bid of 17-1 outsider Vintage Matters to score by a head. A four-year-old homebred son of Bodemeister trained by Gary Capuano of Captain Bodgit fame for Marathon Farms, O Dionysus notched his third win from six starts this year and now owns a 6-5-1 slate and $335,000 banked from 16 career tries.

Then two races later on the card, Tricky Escape benefited from a fast early tempo and rallied widest of all through the far turn to score by a length as the 4-1 third choice in the Grade III, $200,000 Robert G Dick Memorial for fillies and mares on the lawn. A five-year-old Hat Trick mare trained by Lynn Ashby for owner John Marshall, Tricky Escape recorded her first win in three starts this year and now owns a 5-5-3 slate and $440,000 bankroll from 17 career tries.

Then one race later in the $75,000 Dashing Beauty Stakes for fillies and mares on the main track, Jessica Krupnick benefited from patient handling early and then rallied widest of all turning for home and just outlasted the late bid of Lake Pontchatrain to score by a head in 1:10.4. A five-year-old daughter of Uncle Mo trained by Francis Abbott, III for Sycamore Racing, Jessica Krupnick notched her third win in six starts this year and now owns a 6-4-2 slate and just over $200,000 banked from 16 lifetime tries.

Then one race later in the Grade III, $300,000 Delaware Oaks for three-year-old fillies contesting one-mile and one-sixteenth on the main track, Red Ruby easily lived up to her billing as the 3-5 favorite when she gained command widest of all on the far turn and simply romped home 13 lengths clear while getting the distance in 1:42.41. A sophomore daughter of Tizway trained by Kellyn Gorder, Red Ruby notched her second straight graded stakes score, third win in four tries this year and now boasts four wins in six career outings and nearly doubled her earnings to $460,000.

That same afternoon just past the midway point of the Laurel Park card, Whereshetoldmetogo (Jeremy Rose) found room along the inside at the head of the lane and overhauled Old Time Revival in the final 100 yards to score by nearly a length in the $100,000 Concern Stakes. The only Maryland-bred in the compact field of five, Whereshetoldmetogo recorded his second straight score and third win in seven starts this year and now owns a 5-2-0 slate and nearly $220,000 banked from 13 lifetime tries for trainer Anthony Pecararo.

That same afternoon at Parx, Smiling Causeway rallied from just off the pace to capture the $100,000 Turf Amazon for fillies and mares going five furlongs on the lawn and roughly an hour later Vision Perfect benefited from the same journey and overhauled Pool Winner in the final furlong to forge a mild upset in 57 flat. Vision Perfect had been beaten favorite in the Grade III Turf Sprint Stakes at Churchill Downs, but rebounded to forge his second win from four starts this year and his sixth win from 29 career outings.