Yellow Agate rallies for Frizette victory

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Jen Caldwell

October 8th, 2016

China Horse Club’s Yellow Agate ran down pacesetter Libby’s Tail in Saturday’s $400,000 Frizette Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park to score a close head win under jockey Manny Franco as the 6-5 favorite.

In doing so, the Kentucky-bred miss not only earned a guaranteed berth in the November 5 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Santa Anita Park, but also 10 points toward a spot in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) starting gate next spring at Churchill Downs.

The Christophe Clement trainee bided her time near the rear of the six-filly field as Libby’s Tail set splits of :22.86, :45.69 and 1:10.75. Nonna Mela kept the pressure on from second while Colorful Charades stalked in fourth.

Nonna Mela, the 8-5 second choice, couldn’t sustain her run and began backing up. Meanwhile, Yellow Agate was on the move and ranged up on the outside of Libby’s Tail. However, the longtime leader was tough, refusing to yield and holding a slim advantage for much of the stretch.

It was only in the shadow of the wire that Yellow Agate finally managed to collar her rival, doing so in a final time of 1:35.82 over Belmont’s fast main track.

Yellow Agate paid $4.70 for the win over 6-1 Libby’s Tail. The rest of the field was left well behind those two, with Colorful Charades finishing 9 1/4 lengths adrift in third. Nonna Mela came next and was followed under the line by Sky Gesture and Star Super.

Yellow Agate is now two-for-two and has banked $285,000 In lifetime earnings. The bay daughter of Gemologist broke her maiden by a half-length at Belmont on September 11.

Out of the Lemon Drop Kid mare Lemon Sorbet, Yellow Agate is from the same female family as multiple English champion Warning and his dam, 1997 Broomare of the Year Slightly Dangerous.

Yellow Agate photo courtesy of NYRA/Chelsea Durand/Adam Coglianese Photography


Christophe Clement, trainer Yellow Agate, winner

"I think today was a major jump going from a maiden win to a Grade 1 win. It was a great ride by Manny. He never panicked and came from off the pace. The filly was comfortable, he waited and took her wide giving her a chance. She then went to take on that horse on the lead. I think it was a very mature ride from Manny."

Manuel Franco, jockey Yellow Agate, winner

"At the quarter-pole, she didn't switch leads, so I worked on her and she gave me that second reaction. I wanted her to break good and I wanted to settle her down, because I knew she was going from short to long today. I just wanted her to relax and be comfortable and I made my move at the right time."