Belmont Stakes 2016 Results, Recaps, Replays
Belmont Stakes 2016 Results, Recaps, Replays: Creator and jockey Irad Oriz, Jr. won the 148th Running of the Belmont Stakes for Steve Asmussen and owners WinStar Farm and Bobby Flay. The Belmont Stakes undercard races were equally exciting at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. Economic Model takes the Easy Goer to start Belmont Stakes Day. Carina Mia beats a talented field to take the G1 Acorn Stakes. Shaman Ghost and Joel Rosario win the Brooklyn Invitational. Cavorting takes the Ogden Phipps on Belmont Stakes day and wins an entry into the 2016 Breeders’ Cup World Championships. Pure Sensation set a new course record winning the Jaipur, a six furlong stakes race on the Belmont turf finishing in 1:06.76. Tom’s Ready (7-1) went from last to first in the Woody Stephens. Celestine won the Longines Just a Game Stakes at Belmont in 1:31.64, after swift raw fractions of 23.36, 46.13 and 1:09.13. Frosted destroyed the Met Mile field and looked like a winner every step of the way. Flintshire (3-5) won the Manhattan. Details, photos and video replays are listed below.
Creator wins the 148th Running of the Belmont Stakes
After finishing 13th in the Kentucky Derby (GI) five weeks ago, the gray Tapit colt Creator captured the Belmont Stakes (GI), while Preakness (GI) champion Exaggerator disappointed fans by failing to hit the board.
With his usual closing style, Creator won the third leg of the Triple Crown for trainer Steve Asmussen and owner WinStar Farm. He improved his record to 10-3-4-1.
WinStar created a stir this week, when they announced the speedy Gettysburg transferred from the Todd Pletcher barn to Asmussen and would contest the Belmont Stakes.
As expected under Paco Lopez, Gettysburg set the pace early, with Destin chasing in second and the longshot Seeking the Soul in third. Stradivari was in the mix in fourth, and they went the first quarter in 24.06 seconds.
In the middle portion of the race, Exaggerator made an early outside move, and it seemed to take a toll. Gettysburg continued to lead them and Destin still chased in second as they went four furlongs in 48.48 seconds.
On the far turn, and after six furlongs in 1:13.38 and a mile in 1:37.96, Gettysburg held on, but Destin began to make his move and Stradivari ranged up on the outside. Governor Malibu was on the rail looking for room. Creator was right behind the leading group and in position to strike.
Turning for home, Destin took command of the lead. Creator had dead aim though, and Lani came flying on the outside as well. Destin was tired and Creator nosed him out at the wire for the win under Irad Ortiz Jr.
The trainer credited his young jockey, who regularly rides on the New York circuit, for the win.
“I thought Irad gave him a dream trip … to have our first Belmont win, I’m just very proud of our whole team,” Asmussen said in a post-race interview.
Lani finished third and Governor Malibu was fourth.
Creator paid $34.80 to win, $14.60 to place and $9.40 to show.
Destin paid $9.40 to place and $6.20 to show.
Lani paid $6.60 to show.
The Triple Crown series is over and produced three different winners! The 3-year-old horses will next be pointing towards the Haskell Stakes (GI) at Monmouth Park and the Travers (GI) at Saratoga in late-summer.
Belmont Stakes 2016 Creator Replay:
Flintshire takes G1 Woodford Reserve Manhattan
The hype surrounding Flintshire was spot-on as the European turf sensation didn’t disappoint by winning Saturday’s $1 million Woodford Reserve Manhattan at Belmont Park, his second Grade 1 victory on American turf, with flair. REPLAY
Flintshire’s victory provided trainer Chad Brown with his fourth trip to the winner’s circle after the Manhattan in the last five years.
Juddmonte Farms’ homebred, who was ridden by Javier Castellano, rolled to a 1 3/4-length victory over second choice Ironicus. The runner-up finished a half-length in front of pacesetter World Approval, who owned a half-length advantage at the wire over Grand Tito, the fourth-place finisher.
World Approval was the pace stter through fractions of 23.81 seconds, 49.77, 1:13.90 and 1:37.09 over the firm turf course, which produced rapid times all day. Longshot Grand Tito was prominent early and nudged along World Approval down the backstretch. Divisidero was in the early mix as well. Flintshire, the 3-5 favorite, was tucked comfortably behind the early leaders as the field raced down the backstretch of the mile-and-a-quarter race.
Castellano deftly moved Flintshire to the outside turning for home and the pair really picked up steam. They moved into the lead as the sixteenth pole approached.
“He’s a phenomenal, spectacular horse,” Castellano said. “He’s very straightforward with his approach. He can [compete] with the best horses in the country. He showed today he was the best horse in the race.”
Brown also had high praise for Flintshire, who he received in March. The 6-year-old son of Dansili previously raced in Europe for trainer Andre Fabre and won last year’s Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga Race Course with him. Flintshire’s connections were eager to race him in America this year because they believed he would relish the firmer ground and benefit from the fast pace associated with grass racing in this country.
“Wow. First of all, many thanks to Prince Khalid bin Abdullah, for trusting me and my staff with such a remarkable racehorse. He is special,” Brown said. “He ran to his works. Like I said all month, he was sent to me in outstanding condition. We’re just trying to get him into our program, make sure he adapts okay and he doesn’t change for the worse, which he hasn’t.
“He showed the ability to cut back to mile and a quarter with a good turn of foot today.”
Brown said he will map out a schedule to get Flintshire to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita in November.
“There are no immediate plans. Obviously, the goal is to take down that race at Santa Anita at the end of the year,” the trainer said. “How we get there – there is more than one way to do that.”
Jose Ortiz, who rode Ironicus, said had he enjoyed a better trip, the result of the 115th Manhattan might have been different.
“I was in a perfect spot early on. Then, at the three-eighths pole Javier was outside me and I tried to move out, but he wasn’t letting me in,” Ortiz said. “I took a chance going inside but I didn’t have much room. If I was in a better position, I think I might have won.”
The winner returned $3.40 for a $2 win bet. The Manhattan win pushed Flintshire’s earnings to $8,124,910 and boosted his career record to 6-10-1 in 20 starts.
The order of finish was completed by Divisidero, Big Blue Kitten, Triple Threat, Slumber and Oathkeeper.
The Brown-trained Slumber walked onto the equine ambulance after the finish.
“It’s just precautionary,” Brown said. “It looks like he has a run down or cut on his front ankle. Hopefully, it’s just that. It’s too early to tell but, hopefully, it doesn’t look like anything serious.” (Source: Karen M. Johnson, NYRA)
Frosted easily wins the G1 Mohegan Sun Metropolitan Handicap
Frosted, the runner-up to Triple Crown champion American Pharoah in the Belmont Stakes one year ago, returned to Belmont Park Saturday with a triumphant performance to capture the 123rd edition of the Grade 1, $1.25 Million Mohegan Sun Metropolitan Handicap with absolute authority. REPLAY
With Joel Rosario aboard, Godolphin’s homebred Frosted took command at the head of the stretch and drew off from the rest of the top flight field of 10 horses aged 3 and older while Rosario sat chilly in the irons. Frosted left his competition completely out in the cold as he powered through the lane while Rosario had the 4-year-old son of Tapit under wraps.
Frosted steadily increased his winning margin to a stunning 14 1/4 lengths and crossed under the wire in 1:32.73, just two ticks of a second off the track record for the one-mile distance. Anchor Down, who struck the front three-quarters from home under Jose Ortiz, was second, a length in front of Upstart, who was ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr. and was running in blinkers for the first time.
“It was a good trip. This is a nice horse. He did it all on his own and I was just a passenger,” said Rosario, who also won the Grade 2, $400,000 Brooklyn Invitational and the Grade 2, $500,000 Woody Stephens earlier on the Belmont Stakes undercard and was aboard Frosted in the 2015 Belmont Stakes. “He really ran a big race today, probably the best race of his life. It’s very special to come here today and make all of us happy.”
Frosted sat off blistering early splits of 22.78 seconds, 45.35 and 1:09.36 and made his move up the inside as the field raced through the far turn. When Rosario moved Frosted to the outside at the quarter pole and asked him for some run, the result was iced.
“He has been doing great. He went to Dubai and came back. He is a special horse and it’s great to see him get a win like this,” said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who sent Frosted to Dubai for his victory in a Group 2 event followed by a fifth place finish in the $10 million Dubai World Cup in his last outing March 26. “The margin of victory today was unbelievable. It was a wild, wild race. He has been doing great all the time and you say that every time that they are doing great, but for him to beat that great of a field of horses like that is pretty incredible.”
The Met Mile is a “Win and You’re In” qualifying race for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, but McLaughlin said that he might be thinking even bigger for Frosted.
“We’ll worry about that later. It might be the Classic instead of the Mile. We’ll wait and see. He is very talented and it was a great win for the entire team,” said McLaughlin, who recorded his second Met Mile score after taking the 2008 running with Divine Park, and won the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps earlier on the card with Cavorting.
With the $670,000 winner’s share of the purse, Frosted boosted his bankroll to $3,182,800 and has now won five of 16 starts.
The remaining order of finish was Marking, also trained by McLaughlin, Ami’s Flatter, Noble Bird, Blofeld, Stanford, Tamarkuz, another McLaughlin runner, and Calculator. El Kabeir, Donworth, and Sloane Avenue were scratched. (Source: Lynne Snierson, NYRA)
Celestine dominates Grade 1 Just a Game
Celestine reaffirmed her fondness for the Widener turf with a scintillating victory in Saturday’s Grade 1, $700,000 Longines Just a Game at Belmont Park, shattering the previous stakes record and missing the course mark by a mere .01 seconds. Replay
While Celestine was very good winning two stakes here last year after being transferred to Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, the 4-year-old Scat Daddy filly entered a new dimension Saturday, blazing one mile in 1:31.64 seconds to easily best Tapitsfly’s clocking of 1:32.34 in 2012. The course record of 1:31.63 was established by the Mott-trained Elusive Quality in the 1998 Poker Stakes.
Celestine broke alertly with Junior Alvarado and raced closest to pacesetter La Berma, who set fractions of 23.36, 46.13 and 1:09.63. After wresting command in the upper stretch, she moved away readily to report home by 3 ¾ lengths over rail-skimming second choice Recepta.
“It was a dream trip,” said Alvarado. “With this kind of filly, she has speed and she can stalk a little bit, too. As soon as she broke, she broke very beautifully and after that I was just sitting on her. I waited until we turned for home to ask her. I couldn’t ask for a better trip than that. It was like everything was just going perfect.”
Celestine paid $17 to win as the fourth choice in the field of 13 fillies and mares, and the winner’s share of $375,000 nearly doubled her previous earnings for owner James A. Bryan Jr. Overall, she is now 6-2-1 from a dozen starts, with a perfect 3-for-3 record on the Widener course.
“This was very impressive,” said Mott, who has now won the Just a Game five times, beginning with the inaugural running in 1994 with Elizabeth Bay. “She’s gotten better as time goes on. She just drew away from a good field. We were one-hundredth of a second slower than the course record of Elusive Quality, who I also trained. That was a world record at the time.”
Mrs McDougal, the slight favorite in the field of 13 fillies and mares, rallied to get third over the Mott-trained Lady Lara, who raced in foal.
The order of finish was completed by Faufiler, Prize Exhibit, Rainha Da Bateria, Strike Charmer, La Berma, Lexie Lou, Tapitry, Irish Rookie and My Miss Sophia. (Source: Dave Litfin, NYRA)
Tom’s Ready willing and able in G2 Woody Stephens
G M B’s Tom’s Ready proved well-prepared on Saturday at Belmont Park, registering his first stakes win by 1 ¼ lengths in the 32nd running of the Grade 2, $500,000 Woody Stephens for 3-year-old sprinters. REPLAY
In his first start without blinkers since last fall, Tom’s Ready settled at the back of the 12-horse field while the previously undefeated Justin Squared swept through opening fractions of 21.77 seconds for a quarter-mile and 44.40 for a half.
Fish Trappe Road, at 25-1, launched a bid in the turn, overtaking the leader at the top of the stretch under a close pursuit from Star Hill. Trained by Dallas Stewart, Tom’s Ready traveled wide into the stretch and dropped into the three path within the final sixteenth under an energetic drive under Joel Rosario.
“I could see they were drifting out so I kind of took a position to get inside, because at that time I didn’t want to stop the momentum,” said Rosario. “He was coming and running really hard at the end. I just didn’t want to stop him.”
Sent off at 7-1, the Pennsylvania-bred More Than Ready colt completed seven furlongs in 1:21.38 to return $17.20 for a $2 win wager.
“That was a great ride, wasn’t it? The way [Rosario] rode this horse, was like a [Angel] Cordero ride. I just lost it. He came running,” said Stewart. “I took a shot taking the blinkers off because he looks around. I took them off for his work and he worked good. It’s like Wayne Lukas always taught us: Don’t be afraid to take a shot. Make a change sometimes and see what happens.”
The victory improves Tom’s Ready’s record to two wins and four seconds from 11 starts for earnings of $577,220.
Fish Trappe Road held on for second, three-quarters of a length ahead of Star Hill in third.
Sharp Azteca, Dig Deep, Tale of S’avall, Seymourdini, Counterforce, Awesome Gent, Mrazek, Justin Squared and Imperial Hint completed the order of finish. I Will Score was scratched. (Source: Heather Pettinger, NYRA)
Pure Sensation bests crowded field in G3 Jaipur Invitational
Pure Sensation took the lead a quarter-mile in and held off fast-charging stablemate Disco Partner to post a win by a neck in the Grade 3, $300,000 Jaipur Invitational for 4-year-olds and up over six furlongs in the Widener turf as part of Saturday’s Belmont Stakes Day card. REPLAY
The Christophe-Clement trained gray gelding hit the wire in a course-record time 1:06.76, earning him a trip to the winner’s circle for the first time since capturing the Grade 3 Turf Monster Handicap in September at Parx Racing. He has won two of his last three graded stakes starts.
“When this horse is right, he’s a top class horse and he proved it today,” Clement said. “He’s not an easy horse to keep right all the time because he’s not the soundest horse. When he’s training well, he runs well.”
Both Pure Sensation and Disco Partner are owned by Patricia Generazio. The Tom Albertrani-trained Ready for Rye also made a strong stretch drive to finish third, just one length behind.
‘I’m just thrilled because he belongs to Patricia Generazio,” Clement said. “Mr. and Mrs. Generazio have been a long-time supporter of the stable. They are great owners and breeders and I think it was a great result for them.”
Pure Sensation, an 18-1 wagering choice, bested a crowded 13-horse field in setting fractions of 21.64, 44.06 and 55.32 seconds. The 5-year-old paid $39.20 for a $2 win wager. He also broke the course record for six furlongs on the Widener turf that was set by Keep The Faith’s 1:06.82 on July 24, 2005.
Jockey Jose Ortiz, who rode Pure Sensation for the first time, picked up his second victory of the day.
“When the gates opened he broke good and he wanted to go to the front,” Ortiz said. “When we got the lead and he was going good, I looked around and nobody was coming after us. I had a lot of horse so I let him run and he ran great. I think he set a track record and that’s exciting. I want to thank Mr. Clement and the owner for giving me the opportunity to ride such a nice horse.”
At 16-1, Disco Partner, trained by James Ryerson, finished in the money for a fourth straight start. He went from sixth at the top of the stretch to second in his graded stakes debut.
Ready for Rye, with jockey Javier Castellano in the irons for a fourth straight start, improved to 5-4-4 in 14 career starts.
A Lot, the 4-1 favorite coming off a win in the listed Elusive Quality, finished fourth in running just a head behind Ready for Rye for trainer Chad Brown.
Mosler, Summation Time, Green Mask, Commute, Hothersal, Rocket Heat, Green Gratto, Royal Squeeze and Guns Loaded completed the order of finish. Take Cover was scratched. (Source: Brian Bohl, NYRA)
Cavorting plays with field in G1 Ogden Phipps
Stonestreet Stable’s Cavorting scored her first Grade 1 victory of the year, getting the best of a tough group of older fillies and mares in the Grade 1, $1 million Ogden Phipps Saturday at Belmont Park. REPLAY
The 4-year-old Bernardini filly settled well behind pacesetting longshot Desert Valley, who led the field of seven through an opening quarter-mile in 23.37 seconds and a half in 46.20. Racing six-wide into the stretch, Cavorting made up ground against her rivals and stormed through the stretch to draw off by 2 ½ lengths.
“She broke well and I was able to relax her at the back of the pack,” said winning jockey Florent Geroux, who picked up the mount aboard Cavorting for the first time. “She settled very nicely for me and when I asked her to go down the lane she responded well.”
Exiting an impressive five-length victory in the one-mile, Grade 2 Ruffian last time out, Cavorting finished the one-turn, 1 1/16-mile contest, a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” qualifier, in 1:40.14 – the Kiaran McLaughlin trainee’s first attempt racing past a mile.
“She didn’t [have a lot left in the stretch,” Geroux continued. “Sometimes she can be a little tricky. She can be aggressive in a race. The question was the distance. She ran seven-eights and the mile, but today was a mile and a sixteenth. It was the first time she went the distance so it was really exciting.
“Her pedigree indicated that she wanted to go further. Being by Bernardini, her third start we tried the Frizette, but it was a funny racetrack that day a little wet,” said McLaughlin, who notched his third victory in the Ogden Phipps, including Wedding Toast’s win in 2015. “The jockey did a great job. One turn is great and we’re real happy to win the Phipps two years in a row. Sorry Dinny isn’t here with us, but it was a great win.”
Cavorting, a $360,000 weanling purchase, tallied the sixth stakes win of her career, which has included scores in the Grade 1 Test and Grade 2 Prioress at Saratoga Race Course in 2015. Cavorting improves her record to 7-1-1 from 12 lifetime starts and earnings of more than $1.6 million.
Cavorting was joined in her late rally by Forever Unbridled, who trailed the field early and closed well to finish second, a half-length ahead of Ruffian runner-up and Phipps Stable homebred Carrumba.
The 9-5 favorite Curalina check in fourth, followed by Sheer Drama, Stopchargingmaria and Desert Valley to complete the order of finish. (Source: Heather Pettinger, NYRA)
Shaman Ghost scary good in G2 Brooklyn Invitational
Turning in a breakthrough performance, Shaman Ghost sat behind the leaders to the top of the stretch and drew off to win the Grade 2, $400,000 Brooklyn Invitational on Saturday at Belmont Park. REPLAY
Making the second start of his 4-year-old season and his second for trainer Jimmy Jerkens, Shaman Ghost secured the inside position just behind the leaders soon after the start as 59-1 long shot Waymond Boyd showed the way through fractions of 24.41, 49.67 and 1:15.09 seconds.
Shaman Ghost was hemmed in briefly under Joel Rosario approaching the quarter pole, as his stablemate and eventual fifth-place finisher Securitz ranged up three wide alongside Waymond Boyd and Doyouknowsomething. When the latter drifted out slightly turning for home, Shaman Ghost responded with a quick move to split the pacesetters, and the Ghostzapper colt widened steadily under a mild drive to beat wide-rallying Turco Bravo by 4 ¼ lengths.
“Everything pretty much went as planned,” said Rosario, who, like Jerkens, notched his second Brooklyn victory. “He came into this from a shorter distance race, so I just let him relax and do what he wanted. He was very comfortable and relaxed. He was there for me the whole time during the race. Very easy to manage. When I wanted him to move on, he had more and finished strong.”
One of two Queen’s Plate winners on the Belmont Stakes Day program along with Grade 1 Just a Game entrant Lexie Lou, the homebred Shaman Ghost earned $220,000 for Stronach Stables. He paid $9.00 to win as the second choice in the field of 10, and ran 1 ½ miles in 2:28.40 seconds over a fast main track.
Shaman Ghost, third in a high-end optional claimer in his seasonal debut here three weeks earlier, improved to 5-1-1 from 10 starts, and is closing in on $1 million earnings with $916,811.
“I thought he was the class of the race, really,” said Jerkens, who captured the Brooklyn’s 1993 renewal with Iron Deputy. “I thought he was the most accomplished, really. He ran a fast race the other day and I was just hoping he would rate kind. It looked like he was going to give [Rosario] a little trouble early, but he settled right down. When I saw him settle right down after the first eighth of a mile, I thought we were in business. In all his races, it looked like he was gaining at the end. I thought, especially having the mile-and-a-quarter race under his belt, I thought we’d take a shot.”
Elnaawi was up for third over third choice Samraat after racing far back early.
Kid Cruz, the 3-2 favorite, trailed to the far turn, and flattened out after a brief wide rally to wind up seventh.
Carina Mia beats talented field to take G1 Acorn
Carina Mia registered her first career Grade 1 victory by besting an accomplished six-horse field to win the $700,000 Acorn for 3-year-old fillies on the main track as part of the Saturday Belmont Stakes Day card. REPLAY
Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, Carina Mia moved from sixth at the half-mile mark and pull ahead at the top of the stretch before finishing 1 ¼-lengths ahead of Off the Tracks for her fourth win in six career starts.
Jockey Julien Leparoux, who guided Carina Mia to wins in the Grade 2 Golden Rod and Eight Belles, rode her from post position 4 to win against a field that included Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks-winner Cathryn Sophia and Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan-winner Go Maggie Go.
“We thought there was speed in there,” Mott said. “It actually turned out to be a little bit more than what we thought. Certainly Cathryn Sophia, it looked like they wanted to send her into the race a little bit.”
“Her first race came off a five-month layoff and things hadn’t gone just right. She probably needed the race to get back in gear, I suppose. It is nice to get her a Grade 1 win.”
Carina Mia, who had finished fourth in her only previous Grade 1 start in the Ashland, hit the wire in 1:34.97 on the fast track. She paid $6.10 for a $2 win wager.
“I thought I was going to be behind Cathryn Sophia and Go Maggie Go, but I saw them go away from there so I decided to just sit off of them,” Leparoux said. “I felt confident at the top of the stretch. I came around everyone and she kicked on at the end. She’s a nice filly. We didn’t get to the Oaks but maybe it was for the best because she won a big race today.”
Off the Tracks, trained by Todd Pletcher, posted her second consecutive in-the-money finish in a graded stakes start after coming in third in the Gulfstream Park Oaks. Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez guided Off the Tracks from fifth at the three-quarter mile mark to a second-place showing one length ahead of Cathryn Sophia.
“I thought our filly ran very well,” Pletcher said. “It was kind of a hard race to predict how it was going to unfold, pace-wise. We were a little unsure of where we’d be early but I thought she adjusted well, being inside and behind horses most of the way. She finished up well and I thought she was closing with interest the last part. I thought she ran very well.”
The John Servis-trained Cathryn Sophia entered with five wins in six starts, including a 2 ¾-length win in the Kentucky Oaks last out at Churchill Downs. She led at the three-quarter mark, setting a fraction of 1:10.23 before Carina Mia and Off the Tracks made a late push.
“I had a good trip. I don’t know why she didn’t finish today but we’ll figure it out,” Cathryn Sophia jockey Javier Castellano said. “Maybe today just wasn’t her day.”
Go Maggie Go, trained by Dale Romans, came in fourth in her first start since the Black-Eyed Susan win. Paola Queen and Forever Darling completed the order of finish.
The 86th running of the Acorn was the first of six Grade 1 races on the Belmont Stakes Day docket.
Economic Model takes Easy Goer to start Belmont Stakes Day
Economic Model utilized a stretch-drive surge to post a 1 1/2-length victory in the $150,000 Easy Goer for 3-year-olds in the opening race on Saturday’s Belmont Stakes Day card. REPLAY
The Chad Brown-trained bay colt pulled ahead of Rally Cry in the stretch and held off the Irish-bred Race Me Home for his second consecutive victory. Economic Model hit the wire in 1:40.18 in the 1 1/16-mile race on the main track to pace a field of five.
Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., who has piloted Economic Model to all three of his career wins in five career starts, took him from the outside post position to register his first win in a listed stakes race.
“I hit him left [handed] and he started coming out,” Ortiz said. I tried to keep him straight. “He’s doing much better. He’s improving. He’s a nice horse.”
Returning $10 for a $2 win wager, Economic Model bested a field that include 3-5 program favorite and graded stakes-winner Cupid. Economic Model has won two in a row at Belmont Park since a ninth-place showing in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby. Brown said he will look to point him toward the Grade 1 Haskell or the Grade 2 Jim Dandy.
“We’ve always liked this horse a lot,” Brown said.” His race at Tampa was just so disappointing, but it is becoming clear now it was just the track over there. I’ve never lost confidence in this horse stretching out as well. He’s always acted like a horse who wants to run further. We’ll stretch him out from here.
“He has a few things to figure out, but we couldn’t be more pleased with his performance today,” he continued. “With Cupid not breaking and rushing and a lot of developments up front, that is what we hoped for, a solid pace. We’re going to take a shot in one of those good races going a mile and an eighth, more than likely.”
Race Me Home, trained by Dale Romans, finished second. Coming off his maiden-breaking win, the Albaugh Family Stable-owned bay colt finished in the money for the second time in four career starts.
Rally Cry, trained by Todd Pletcher, came in third. Along with Hit It Once More and Cupid completing the order of finish.
Cupid, trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, was coming off a 10th-place finish in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby.
“It was a little disappointing. I’m not sure why,” said Jim Barnes, assistant to Baffert. “Maybe it was the one turn that he didn’t like. He was a step slow leaving the gate and he [jockey Florent Geroux] tried to get him off the rail and to the outside, which he did, but it doing so it looked like he engaged early and wanted to be a little aggressive. That’s racing. We’ll go back and get a look at him and see where we’re at.”