Belmont hosts its final round of Breeders' Cup preps; speed especially dangerous on the wet track

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October 7th, 2015


A six-pack of graded races headlined the fourth weekend at Belmont Park.

Jockey Club Gold Cup S. (G1): Robert S. Evans’ TONALIST (Tapit) gained the lead in early stretch and spurted clear with authority on his way to a convincing 4 ¾-length romp under John Velazquez. The Christophe Clement trainee endured 10 furlongs on the sloppy sealed oval in 2:02 to repeat in the historic race.

Flower Bowl S. (G1): Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s STEPHANIE’S KITTEN (Kitten’s Joy) got close at the top of the lane and slowly wore down the leader inside the final furlong en route to a 1 ¼-length score for trainer Chad Brown. The six-year-old mare completed 1 ¼ miles on the soft turf course in 2:06 1/5 with Irad Ortiz in the silks.

Champagne S. (G1): St. Elias Stable et al’s GREENPOINTCRUSADER (Bernardini) broke slowest, gained momentum approaching the turn for home and exploded late in posting a 4 ½-length romp with Joe Bravo. The Dom Schettino trainee went one mile over the wet track in a sharp 1:36 1/5 to earn his first Grade 1 win.

Frizette S. (G1): LNJ Foxwoods’ NICKNAME (Scat Daddy) tracked the pace in second to the top of the lane, took command in early stretch and easily proved best with Javier Castellano in the irons. The juvenile filly ended up 3 ½ lengths clear under the line, getting one mile in 1:37 3/5 for conditioner Steve Asmussen.

Kelso H. (G2): Gary Barber’s APPEALING TALE (Tale of the Cat) sped to the front soon after the break and never gave way in posting a 1 ¾-length score for trainer Peter Miller. The surging five-year-old went one mile on the wet track in 1:34 4/5 with Joe Talamo.

Hill Prince S. (G2): Klaravich and Lawrence’s TAKEOVER TARGET (Harlan’s Holiday) made a move in early stretch to get close and finished best of all en route to a 1 ¾-length tally with Jose Ortiz. The Chad Brown trainee finished nine panels on the soft turf in 1:51 2/5.

Track Stats

A total of 47 races were held over the main strip at the Elmont, New York venue, with favorites winning at a 40 percent rate and the top two betting choices combining for 57 percent of the wins during the week. From 45 races on the main oval, 12 animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (27 percent), while neither of the two grassy races was taken all the way on the lead.  

When this main oval gets sloppy and sealed as it was a few days this past week, speed is especially dangerous. Five winners led throughout from nine races on Wednesday over this type of going, and three others did the same on Friday. In total for the week, seven wire jobs on the dirt came in sprints, with the other five going long.

Meet Totals












62 (36%)

2ND Choices:


34 (20%)

Turf Wire:


6 (10%)

Dirt Wire:


25 (23%)



Wednesday (9/30)

3RD – FASHION FUND (Oasis Dream) moved into contention in the lane and ran down a clear leader to prove best, recording a solid allowance tally for conditioner Shug McGaughey. The four-year-old filly made good in her first dirt run and the stakes-placed lass has some options going forward.

8TH – The Charlton Baker-trained MAKE THE MOMENT (Indygo Shiner) broke slow but was finishing best in the lane, sustaining a narrow defeat under Taylor Rice. The five-year-old nearly ran down a clear leader late and will be tough right back with any type of improvement next out.

Thursday (10/1)

3RD – SECURITIZ (Tiznow) was sitting on a win and he graduated in style in wearing blinkers for the first time. The Jimmy Jerkens trainee is consistent with ability and might rise his game up with the hood on.

6TH – BELLA JOY (Kitten’s Joy) made a big move turning for home and flew past her foes late in posting a strong maiden victory beneath Junior Alvarado. The Lon Wiggins pupil came home in a strong :24 2/5 and could be live when facing winners in her subsequent performance.

7TH – KNOW IT ALL ANNA (Midnight Lute) left little doubt in this starter allowance event when dominating this field and stopping the teletimer in a brisk 1:08 4/5 under moderate handling. The Linda Rice charge will win a lot of races with performances like this one.

Saturday (10/3)

1ST – LUMINARY FLIGHT (Tiz Wonderful) broke slow from the rail, got in a fine position at the top of the lane and finished with fine energy to just miss in a sharp debut run for conditioner Jimmy Ryerson. The two-year-old should graduate in the near future with improvement off of this run.

5TH – HONOR CODE (A.P. Indy) was not getting to the winner but did make a late run to be third in what might be a perfect prep if he heads to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) later this month. The four-year-old has logged plenty of miles this season and this type of run should be ideal to have him with plenty left in the tank for his bigger assignment next out.

7TH – NEMORALIA (More Than Ready) made a good late run in the slop to be second in her U. S. debut and she could be a contender next month if she stays stateside and tries the Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Keeneland.

10TH – Grade 1 winner WICKED STRONG (Hard Spun) is a notch below the best handicap runners in the U. S., but the four-year-old is gaining some versatility and is still a high-class runner who can get a share in any race against any kind.

Sunday (10/4)

4TH – FELINI (Bernardini) dueled through some decent splits to the top of the lane and while she had little chance with the winner late, the Kiaran McLaughlin pupil was four lengths clear of third and should graduate before long.

6TH – We’re not sure what INHERITANCE (Tapit) crushed in this field, but the Steve Asmussen charge won by 16 lengths under light urging and looked the part from a visual standpoint, as well. The youngster could be almost any kind going forward.

A Look Ahead

Saturday’s $200,000 Knickerbocker S. (G3) on the lawn is the lone graded action upcoming at Belmont Park.