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Oct 03, 2014

AMERICAN TURF CLUB

By: JOE GIRARDI


                 On Saturday September 27th Belmont hosted their “Super Saturday”, one of the big preview days for the Breeders’ Cup. Belmont had six graded races with five being Grade I’s and one Grade II.

               The graded stakes got underway in race 4 with the Grade II Kelso, a race for three year olds and upward, run over one mile with a purse of $400,000. A field of seven went postward with Itsmyluckyday going off as the 3-5 favorite on the strength of his win in the Woodward at Saratoga back on August 30th. When the gates broke, River Rocks, a sharp sprinter stretching out in distance was sent to the lead but Itsmyluckday was right there chasing through fractions of 23:2, 45:3, 1:09. As they moved around the turn and into the lane the positions were unchanged but Itsmyluckyday was under a ride. Coming to the wire, Vyjack, who stalked from fourth kicked it in late and got up to score by a length over River Rocks with Itsmyluckyday running third. Itsmyluckyday is most likely going to be pointed to the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct and not the Breeders’ Cup.

               The fifth race was the Grade I Beldame 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 seven that went postward with Stopchargingmaria going off as the 3-2 favorite. When the gates broke Belle Gallantey was sent to the lead and lead through fractions of 24, 47:2, 1:11:1 while being tracked by Stopchargingmaria. As they moved into the lane Belle Gallantey began to draw away and went on to score by more than eight lengths, Stopchargingmaria held on to second by more than two lengths and Endless chatter checked in third in a good final time of 1:47:2. That was the second graded stakes win on the card for Rudy Rodriguez as he also trainer Vyjack.

               In the seventh race, the Grade I Flower Bowl, a race for fillies and mares, three years old and upward with a purse of $600,000 run over 1 and ¼ miles on the turf. There was a field of eight that went postward with Stephanie’s Kitten going off as the 6-5 favorite. Viva Rafaela came out running and set a moderate pace through fractions of 24:3, 50:1, 1:14:3, 1:38:2 and was still there into the lane. Stephanie’s Kitten, who was stalking from fourth began to make her run and started to close through the lane getting up to win by more than a length, Abaco, closed well for second and the pacesetter tired to finish third in a final time of 2:01.

               In the eighth race, the Grade I Vosburgh for three year olds and upward, run over six furlongs with a purse of $400,000 there was a field of eight that went to the post. Happy My Way came out running for the lead while under pressure from Private Zone through fractions of 22:2, 44:4, 56:2. Private Zone took over that lead into the lane but was challenged by Dads Caps who looked like he was going to go by but couldn’t as Private Zone showed his gameness and went on to score by a neck over Dads Caps in a final time of 1:08:4. The favorite Palace checked in third. That was a repeat effort by Private Zone, who also won this race last year.

               In the ninth race, the Grade I Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, a race for three year olds and upward run over the turf at 1 and ½ miles with a purse of $600,000 there was a field of seven but only six betting entrants. The entry of Big Blue Kitten and Real Solution went off as the slight favorite over Main Sequence. Imagining was sent to the lead and lead through moderate splits of 26:2, 50:4, 1:15:2, 1:39:1, 2:02:4. AS they moved into the lane Imagining still held the lead but Twilight Eclipse was coming through between horses while Main Sequence was closing strong on the outside with Main Sequence getting up late to win by a neck. Twilight Eclipse held on for second by a length over Imagining who was third. That made Main Sequence 3 for 3 in this country, all grade I’s and the margin of victory was never more than a neck.

               In the 10th race, the final graded stakes race of the day, the Grade I Jockey Club Gold Cup, a race for three year olds and upward, run over 1 and ¼ miles with a purse of $1 million dollars. There was a field of 11 that went to the post after Prayer For Relief was a late scratch. Big Cazanova came out running from post 11 and set the pace while Moreno from post 10 was chasing that pace through fractions of 23:3, 47:2, 1:11:1, 1:37. As they moved into the lane, Big Cazanova was trying to get out and began to tire, longshot Long River had made a move to take over the lead but was quickly challenged by Tonalist (the Belmont winner) who was waiting in behind horses. Tonalist and jockey Joel Rosario edged away from the field and went on to score by almost two lengths, the New York bred Zivo closed to finish second with Long River holding third. Moreno checked in fourth but was D’Qed after coming over on Wicked Strong and causing him to clip heels dropping his jockey Rajiv Maragh. Moreno was placed last for his actions. Wicked Strong ran rider less past the wire but seemed to come out of the race ok. Rajiv Maragh was taken to the hospital and had to have surgery on a broken right arm. He might miss the Breeders’ Cup in four weeks but he is holding out hope. Moreno’s jockey, Junior Alvarado was suspended 15 days for his ride.

 

              



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