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Oct 27, 2006

AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD

By: JOE GIRARDI


Belmont Park hosted New York Showcase day on October 21st, a card that is dedicated to New York breds in different divisions, from two year olds to older horses, turf to dirt, and long to short. New York breds have become a big part of the game as many of them are running in open races and filling those spots and many have stepped up and beat top competition over the years, for example, FUNNY CIDE and this year with the emergence of FLEET INDIAN.

In the first stakes race of the day the Sleepy Hollow for two year olds going a mile, CHIEF’S LAKE, the favorite continued his streak and scored going away by four lengths. Two year old gelding has sharp speed and showed that he can finish so give him a shot.

In the next race for two year old fillies, the Maid of the Mist stakes we saw the heavy favorite go down. WIN WITH A WINK, the even money choice raced in fourth early on and never made an impact checked in fifth. GRAND MERGER, who was coming off a huge maiden win followed it up with a solid late close to score by ¾’s of a length. Well bred Kimmel trainee should relish more distance and has a future ahead of her.

The Hudson Handicap for three year olds and upward going six furlongs was next. The favorite was SHARP HUMOR who was coming out of the Kentucky Derby in May and before that gave BARBARO all he could handle in the Florida Derby. SHARP HUMOR showed good speed while taking pressure the whole way and looked like he was done at the top of the lane before digging in gamely to just miss by a neck to second choice GOLD AND ROSES. He should move forward off that effort and an open company stakes is sure to follow.

The Ticonderoga for fillies and mares on the turf was next. FINLANDIA the winner of the Yaddo stakes at Saratoga, stalked the leaders from third, made a strong move at the top of the lane but had a tough customer in SABELLINA running her down in the final stride. FINLANDIA was co 3-1 choice with ELISA’S ENERGY who finished fourth.

The Iroquois for three year old and upward filly and mares going seven furlongs was next. With a field of 11 this was a solid betting race as the favorite HER ROYAL NIBS was questionable at the distance. It played out that way as NO REASON, coming off a stakes win in the New York Oaks at Finger Lakes closed strongly in the drive to score by a length. GREAT LADY K, a 29-1 longshot from the Allen Jerkens barn finished well for second with late running CARLOW just getting up for third over the favorite.

The Mohawk, a stakes race for three year olds and upward going 1 and 1/8th miles on the turf was the next race. CERTIFIABLY CRAZY, second in this race in 2004 sat second to RETRIBUTION who opened up a huge lead before tiring in deep stretch fourth, took over in the lane and held on for a neck victory. CLASSIC FRAN (9-1) and CONTINENTAL REINS (30-1) finished second and third respectively.

The big race of the day the Empire Classic drew a field of 8 with WEST VIRGINIA going off as the 3-2 favorite. After stumbling at the start and hitting the gate WEST VIRGINIA was not able to finish strong enough and checked in third. FUNNY CIDE who was getting some class relief ran an even fourth, closing some ground late. The winner of the race was ORGANIZER, who likes the Belmont surface with a 9 out of 9 record in the money and two wins going in was an overlay at 22-1. He stalked the pace in third before coming three wide for the win.

The final race of the day was the Terreavigne Stakes for three year old fillies on the turf at 1 and 1/16th miles. The favorite in the race was REWRITE but she could never do better than fourth. LATITUDE FORTY who was coming off a wire to wire win last out, stalked the leaders from fifth and just got up for the win late over HOMERETTE for a $14.40 mutuel.



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