American Turf Magazine
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Oct 04, 2013



On September 28th Belmont hosted their Super Saturday, five Grade I races and one Grade II race as these top horses prepare for the Breeders’ Cup.

               The Grade I Beldame Invitational was the first stakes of the day, a Grade I run over 1 and 1/8th miles for fillies and mares three years old and upward. A field of five went postward with Royal Delta going off as the heavy favorite at 1-5 with Princess Of Sylmar, a three year old filly going off as the second choice at 2-1. After showing some early speed Royal Delta chased the early fractions of 23:3, 46:3, 1:10:2. As they moved around the far turn, Royal Delta took over the lead but was quickly moved upon by Princess Of Sylmar, into the lane Princess Of Sylmar ground down Royal Delta to score going away by two lengths while Royal Delta was more than six lengths clear of the show horse, Centring. We would expect Royal Delta to go out to defend her title in the Distaff, however, Princess of Sylmar might not go according to some reports after the race.

               The next race was the Grade II Kelso Handicap going a mile on the dirt for three year olds and upward. The 4-5 favorite in the race was Graydar who was coming off a win in the Grade II New Orleans handicap at the Fair Grounds at the end of March. When the gates opened Graydar went to the lead and was able to set some very moderate fractions for this level, 23:2, 47, 1:10:2 and a solid final time of 1:34 flat holding on by ¾’s of a length over Brujo de Olleros. That’s 3 wins from 3 tries and two Grade II’s and one Grade I.

               The Grade I Vosburgh Invitational was next with a field of eight going forward. The race was six furlongs for three year olds and upward. Justin Phillip who was sent off as the slight favorite at 5-2 made a menacing move at the leader Private Zone, came alongside like he was going to go by but hung late to finish second while beaten a neck in a solid final time of 1:08 flat, it was another 4 ½ lengths back to the show horse, Strapping Groom.

               The Grade I Flower Bowl Invitational for fillies and mares three years old and upward run over the turf at 1 and ¼ miles. There was a field of eight horses that went postward with the favored entry of Laughing and Tannery going off at 3-5. Laughing set some very slow fractions going, 25:3, 51:2, 1:16 flat, it was a sprint home from there and she held on to score by a half length over her entrymate who was another neck ahead of the show horse, Mystical Star. The final time of 2:02:1 was not bad considering the early splits and the final quarter was under 23 seconds which makes Tannery’s run extraordinary.

               The Grade I Joe Hirsch Turf Classic was next. A race run over 1 and ½ miles for three year olds and upward, a field of nine went postward with a three horse entry from the Ken and Sarah Ramsey barn. The fractions were set by the “rabbit” Joes Blazing Aaron through 23:4, 47:3, 1:11:2 before he gave it up. As they moved around the far turn, Little Mike took over the lead. He was still there in deep stretch but had to face challenges from Real Solution and Big Blue Kitten, the two parts of the three part entry. As they hit the wire Little Mike held on by a nose over Big Blue Kitten, Real Solution was another length back in third with a tough trip Slumber checking in fourth. The final time of the race was a very solid 2:25 flat. It looks like Little Mike will be heading back to Santa Anita to defend his Breeders’ Cup turf title.

               The final Grade I of the day came in the Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational. The race was run over 1 and ¼ miles for three year olds and upward. There was a field of eight that went postward with two time defending champion Flat Out going off as the slight favorite at 2.50-1. Palace Malice, the Belmont Stakes winner was sent off at 2.75-1 as the second choice. The race changed a bit when Whitney winner Cross Traffic stumbled at the start and never got going race well back early on. Alpha, the winner of the Woodward made the lead with Palace Malice tracking that one from second, while longshot Ron the Greek tracked from third. As they moved around the far turn Palace Malice had Alpha whenever he wanted him but Ron The Greek made a sharp move up the inside to take over the lead into the lane. Ron The Greek continued to widen scoring by more than six lengths in a sharp final time of 1:59:3. Palace Malice held on to second over Flat Out who finished third. Orb the Kentucky Derby winner was in a good spot early on in fifth but didn’t lift a hoof checking in 8th and last, finishing behind Cross Traffic who lost all chance at the start. This shook-up the East Coast handicap division and should make for a very interesting Classic in less than a month.


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