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Jul 08, 2011

American Turf Club Lead

By: Joe Girardi

            There were some big races over the July 4th Holiday weekend at Belmont and we will take a look at a few of them.

            On July 4th Belmont hosted the 64th running of the Grade I Prioress, a race for three year olds run over six furlongs carrying a purse of $250,000. A field of six went postward with ALIENATION, a California shipper from the always dangerous Bob Baffert barn going off as the 8-5 favorite. As the race unfolded ROMAN TREASURE was sent right to the lead while under pressure from the second choice in the race QUANTUM MISS with ALIENATION racing just off them in third. The fractions of the race were quick, 21:3, 44:2, 56:3. As they headed into the lane the leaders began to fade as ALIENATION took over the lead but the closers were running at her late. HER SMILE got through on the inside and outkicked POMEROYS PISTOL who had to settle for second while ALIENATION held on for third. The final time of the race was solid in 1:09:2 and expect to see some of these fillies come back at Saratoga for the Grade I Test Stakes on Saturday August 6th.

            The Grade III Bed O’Roses Handicap was run on Sunday July 3rd at Belmont with HILDA’S PASSION going off as the very heavy favorite carrying the highweight of 124 pounds. As they broke from the gate, HILDA’S PASSION couldn’t make the lead chasing CURLINA into the turn through a solid half mile in 45:2. As they entered the top of the stretch, HILDA’S PASSION began to fade as TAMARIND HALL slipped through between horses and exploded to quickly draw away from the field scoring by more than five lengths at 15-1. KID KATE and SPA CITY PRINCESS closed well to finish second and third with HILDA’S PASSION tiring badly for sixth with no apparent excuse. There was a bridge-jumper who came in on HILDA’S PASSION for third causing show prices of $53.00, $53.50, and $64.50.

            On Saturday July 2nd, Belmont hosted two Grade II races, the Dwyer Stakes for three year olds run over 1 and 1/16th miles carrying a purse of $150,000 and the Grade II Suburban Handicap for three year olds and upward run over 1 and 1/8th miles with a purse of $300,000.

            In the Dwyer Stakes, ADIOS CHARLIE was sent off as the 4-5 favorite with DOMINUS, the Steve Asmussen trainee going off as the 5-2 second choice. DOMINUS was sent right to the lead and was able to back down the pace leading through fractions of 24:1, 47:4, 1:11:3 and then he picked up the pace with the mile time in 1:35:1 and the final time of 1:41:3 as he held safe to the wire by almost two lengths. ADIOS CHARLIE who was getting worked on through the final turn started to gain some late finishing a clear second over COOL BLUE AND RED HOT who was forced wide on the final turn and had to try and close into slow splits. These late developing three year olds might have something to say in a division with no clear leader.

            In the Suburban Handicap a field of six went postward with RODMAN going off as the even money favorite based on his second place finish in the Metropolitan Mile back on May 30th. Breaking from the rail he got away a step slow but then rushed up to make the lead through moderate fractions with COLIZEO just off the pace. The fractions of 23:4. 47, 1:10:3, they began to pick it up into the lane but RODMAN couldn’t go on with it as HYMN BOOK and FLAT OUT started to gain ground. FLAT OUT who was the longest shot in the race and was wide throughout circled the field and drew away to score by more than six lengths in a solid final time of 1:46:3, HYMN BOOK held on for second with RODMAN checking in third. FLAT OUT was being pointed to a possible start in the Whitney Handicap on August 6th at Saratoga, a race that might see TIZWAY, SIDNEY’S CANDY, RAIL TRIP and FLAT OUT.

            In other news, Jockey Rosie Napravnik, who ranks in the top 10 nationally in wins and purse money won in 2011, was scheduled to have surgery Thursday afternoon at Christiana Hospital near Delaware Park to repair a broken left arm sustained in a spill at the track Wednesday afternoon. During the surgery, Napravnik, 23, was to have pins inserted to repair a dislocated ulna bone in her left forearm. Also, doctors were set to insert a new plate into her left wrist, which she fractured exactly four years ago in a spill at Colonial Downs. Napravnik told her publicity agent, Kelly Wietsma that her radius bone snapped right where it meets the plate. It has not yet been determined how long she will be out. She was having a break-out year, becoming the first female jockey to win the jockeys title at the Fair Grounds. She won the Louisiana Derby aboard PANTS ON FIRE and she finished ninth in the Kentucky Derby on the same horse. She won the Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park on June 18th and was being pointed towards the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth on July 31st. Let’s hope for a speedy recovery.

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