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Oct 05, 2012

AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD

By: JOE GIRARDI


               On Saturday September 29th, Belmont hosted their “Super Saturday” card which consisted of six graded stakes races, five Grade I’s and one Grade II.

               The first of the graded stakes was the Grade I Beldame Stakes a race for fillies and mares Three years old and upward run over 1 and 1/8th miles with a purse of $400,000. There was a field of five that went postward after two scratches. IT’S TRICKY the second choice in the race at 6-5 was sent right to the lead with the odds-on favorite ROYAL DELTA in close pursuit. Through fractions of 24, 46:3, 1:10 flat over a track listed good, ROYAL DELTA moved up to challenge IT’S TRICKY, by the time they reached the top of the stretch ROYAL DELTA had already taken over the lead. ROYAL DELTA was drawing away at will while not really being asked scoring by more than nine lengths in a final time of 1:48:4, IT’S TRICKY did hold on for second over GO UNBRIDLED who checked in third. If she goes in the Ladies Classic she will be the favorite to repeat in that spot, she could also take a chance in the Classic and challenge the boys.

               The next race was the Grade II Kelso, run over the dirt at one mile with a purse of $400,000. A field of six went postward after three scratches with TO HONOR AND SERVE going off as the favorite. SHACKLEFORD, the second choice was sent right to the lead, setting solid fractions while being tracked by TRICKMEISTER. Moving to the top of the lane SHACKLEFORD still held the lead but JERSEY TOWN was moving well coming to challenge the leaders. Under jockey Javier Castellano, JERSEY TOWN started to draw off through the lane scoring an 8-1 upset by more than three lengths with SHACKLEFORD holding on for second and TRICKMEISTER finishing third. TO HONOR AND SERVE never really made a rally checking in a well beaten fourth as the even money favorite. This was a good prep for the Dirt Mile and you should see the top two returning in that spot.

               The Grade I Vosburgh was next, run over the dirt at six furlongs for three years old and upward also with a purse of $400,000. A field of nine went postward with the entry of THE LUMBER GUY and SEAN AVERY going off as the slight 2-1 favorite. Right from the start, POSEIDON’S WARRIOR and LITTLE DRAMA battled head to head for the lead through a half mile in 45 flat with the entry stalking from third and fourth. As they moved into the lane THE LUMBER GUY moved up to challenge the leaders and started to edge clear late while CAIXA ELETRONICA closed strong to finish second the two early leaders POSEIDON’S WARRIOR and LITTLE DRAMA. THE LUMBER GUY, a New York bred was returning from a May layoff and is now 4 for 4 in races under one mile.

               The Grade I Flower Bowl was next, for fillies and mares three years old and upward run over the turf at 1 and ¼ miles with a purse of $600,000. There was a field of eight that went postward with DREAM PEACE going off as the slight 2-1 favorite. The early pace was set by HIT IT RICH but he and stalker HALO DOLLY were no were to be found at the finish. NAHRAIN, who finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf last year was coming into this race off three losing efforts. Moved into a contending spot into the lane she was able to ground down the leaders late to score by a half-length over ZAGORA who was a nose in front of DREAM PEACE who lost valuable ground into the lane. Should be interesting to see who moves on to the Breeders’ Cup off this race.

               In the next race, another turf race, the Grade I Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, for three year olds and upward, run over 1 and ½ miles with a purse of $600,000. Six horses went postward with POINT OF ENTRY going off as the odds favorite coming into this race off a four race win streak. The second choice in the race was LITTLE MIKE trying to stretch his speed a bit further went right to the lead. He set moderate early splits of 25:3, 51:4, 1:18, over a yielding course but he gave it up into the far turn as TREASURE BEACH took over. Into the stretch TREASURE BEACH drifted wide taking POINT OF ENTRY with him but he couldn’t hold off the favorite and POINT OF ENTRY went on to score by almost two lengths. He will go to the Breeders’ Cup off a five race win streak and should get a firm course out at Santa Anita. TREASURE BEACH ran second with longshot KINDERGARDEN KID checking in third.  

               The final graded stakes of the day was the Grade I TVG Jockey Club Gold Cup for three year olds and upward run over 1 and ¼ miles with a purse of $1 million dollars. A field of 10 went postward with FORT LARNED going off as the slight favorite at 5-2 over RON THE GREEK at 3-1 and FLAT OUT at 7-2. As the gates opened STAY THIRSTY battled on the lead with SAN PABLO and RULER ON ICE through fractions of 23:2, 47:1, 1:11:4. As they moved around the far turn, STAY THIRSTY held that lead with FORT LARNED in pursuit as FLAT OUT moved into contention in third. As they hit the stretch it was a battle between STAY THIRSTY and FLAT OUT as FLAT OUT got up on the wire by a head over a game STAY THIRSTY, another five lengths back in third was FORT LARNED. RON THE GREEK never fired checking in a disappointing sixth. FLAT OUT who won the Jockey Club Gold Cup in 2011 repeated that effort and will probably move on to the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

 



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