Live Racing Finally Returns To The Big Apple Wednesday
Beaugay Stakes Featuring Rushing Fall, Got Stormy Is Opening Day Feature
By Margaret Ransom
Live racing returns to Belmont Park on Wednesday, June 3, after a 2 ½ month break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a 10-race card featuring the $100,000 Beaugay Stakes (GIIIT), a 1 1/16-mile event set to be contested over the inner turf course. The abbreviated Belmont Park season, which is 25 days long, is set to run through July 12 on a Thursday-through-Sunday schedule after opening week. Post time every day has been set at 1:15 p.m. ET.
No fans will be allowed in attendance during the races at least for the foreseeable future and all employees on site must maintain social distancing measures and wear masks to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Of the six who will head to post in the opening-day feature, eFive Racing’s Rushing Fall is the most successful with a career line of 11-8-2-1 and $2,013,000 in earnings (including four grade 1s). The 5-year-old daughter of More Than Ready hasn’t raced since a somewhat uncharacteristically flat fifth-place finish in the First Lady Stakes (GIT) at Keeneland eight months ago, but for good reason according to trainer Chad Brown.
“This seems like a good starting point,” Brown said. “She’s only run one bad race in her life and that was her last start. She had to overcome some things. She had a mini-layoff and she had gotten really sick at Saratoga. I thought we had her ready (for the First Lady). She loves Keeneland, but it didn’t work out.
“She’s had an extremely consistent career and she’s training as good as ever right now.”
Stablemate Fifty Five won four of six starts in 2019 – all in New York-bred stakes company – and will be making her first start of the year after winning the Ticonderoga Stakes on October 19. She returns home to her favorite turf course, where she owns a record of 11-7-2-1. The 6-year-old daughter of Get Stormy has been back training in New York for the past few weeks as well.
“With everything that’s been set back because of the pandemic, the first New York-bred race for her isn’t until later in the summer and we have to get her started,” Brown said. “She loves Belmont so we’ll see what happens.”
Gary Barber’s multiple grade 1 winner Got Stormy, who is also by Get Stormy, returns after a three-month Covid-19 break for her first race since a neck defeat in the Kilroe Mile (GIT) against the boys at Santa Anita. The Mark Casse trainee also defeated males in last year’s Fourstardave Handicap (GIT) at Saratoga and was second twice to the opposite sex in the Woodbine Mile (GIT) and Breeders’ Cup Mile (GIT). She also won the Matriarch Stakes (G1T) at Del Mar in December to complete her standout 2019 season.
“She really matured,” Casse said. “Most don’t, but she did and not just physically but mentally. The light went on over the winter of her 3-year-old year. As a 3-year-old, she was very nervous all the time. As a 4-year-old, that nervousness was gone.
“A lot of the Get Stormy horses tend to get better as they get older. Often, the difference between a good horse and a great horse can be a length or two.”
Casse, who will be inducted into Racing’s Hall of Fame this summer, also acknowleged how much Got Stormy reminds him of another talented charge whose career he managed masterfully.
“I ran (champion) Tepin at Del Mar as a 3-year-old (in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks) and she ran poorly,” Casse said. “We sent her home to Ocala and when we brought her back in the wintertime at Gulfstream, her first race back was powerful. At that time, I told (owner) Mr. Masterson, I think she can run with any turf filly in North America.
“We did the same thing with Got Stormy. She tailed off at the end of her 3-year-old year and when we brought her back at Gulfstream, when she won, I told Gary (Barber) she reminded me of Tepin. I even took a picture of Tepin’s PPs and sent them to him.”
R Unicorn Stable’s Call Me Love makes her North American debut for trainer Christophe Clement after racing exclusively in Italy so far in her eight-race career. The English-bred daughter of Sea The Stars is a multiple group stakes winner and captured the Premio Verziere Memorial Aldo Cirla (GIIIT) in October and the Premio Lydia Tesio (GIIT) at Rome in her last start in November before being imported to the United States. She seems to excel in races with more distance, but this is a good spot for her return and she’s certainly in capable hands.
Augustin Stable’s Xenobia launches her 2020 campaign for trainer Jonathan Thomas and her first start since a last-place finish in the Bessarabian Stakes (GII) over the all-weather surface at Woodbine in November. The 6-year-old Irish-bred daughter of Falco won the Athenia Stakes (GIIIT) over this course in October and also the Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F. Brownstown Stakes (GIIIT) at Fairyhouse in 2018.
Stuart S. Janney III and Phipps Stable’s homebred Passing Out, a 4-year-old daughter of Orb, makes her graded stakes debut off a nice seven-length second-level allowance win at a mile at Tampa a month ago. She is certainly in tough, but she’s also shown some strong improvement for trainer Shug McGaughey.
The Beaugay, which was named for the 1945 champion juvenile filly, is the ninth race on the day with a post time of 5:36 p.m. ET. It may be wet on Wednesday with afternoon thunderstorms likely and it will be warm with highs in the mid-80s. The field, with odds, riders and trainers, is:
1. Rushing Fall, 6-5
J – Javier Castellano
T – Chad Brown
2. Fifty Five, 5-1
J – Joel Rosario
T – Chad Brown
3. Got Stormy, 7-5
J – Tyler Gaffalione
T – M. CasseL
4. Call Me Love, 12-1
J – Junior Alvarado
T – Christophe Clement
5. Passing Out, 15-1
J – Jose Ortiz
T – Shug McGaughey
6. Xenobia, 10-1
J – Manuel Franco
T – Johathan Thomas