We had great racing this past weekend at Belmont Park, starting with the MAN O' WAR-card on Saturday, which had five graded stakes races. Then they wrapped it up on Sunday with the Gold Fever Stakes. If you missed out on the action, here's the full recap:
The $150K Runhappy Stakes (G3) was won by FIRENZE FIRE, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., trained by Kelly Breen, owned by Mr. Amore Stable — in a clear cut score.
FIRENZE FIRE broke alertly for Irad Ortiz Jr. and was sent early to track the pacesetter CHATEAU, who zipped through the opening quarters in 22.59 and 45.51. FIRENZE FIRE galloped nicely through the backside before ranging up to challenge for the lead. When Irad Ortiz Jr. tapped him on the shoulder, the gutsy 6-year-old bolted forward and opened up by almost three lengths in deep stretch for the win. CHATEAU hung on for second, TOWN CLASSIC got up for third. The final time for the six furlongs on dirt was 1:09.76.
FIRENZE FIRE paid $3.80 to win, $2.40 to place, and $2.10 to show. He is by POSEIDON'S WARRIOR out of MY EVERY WISH by LANGFUHR. He succeeds in making his come-back race a winning one, improving his record to 13 wins, 4 seconds, and 3 thirds from 32 total starts. His earnings now exceed $2.3 million.
The $150K Beaugay Stakes (G3) was won by HARVEY'S LIL GOIL, ridden by Junior Alvarado, trained by William Mott, owned by Estate of Harvey A. Clarke and Paul Braveman — hanging on by a safe margin for the score.
HARVEY'S LIL GOIL broke well for Junior Alvarado but conceded the lead to 25-1 long shot PLATINUM PAYNTER, who led through pedestrian quarters of 26.00 and 50.93. HARVEY'S LIL GOIL relaxed into an even stride through the backside before moving up and seizing command at the top of the stretch. When Junior Alvarado implored her for more run, she accelerated nicely down the lane and held off the late charge of LEMISTA, who ran well to be second. PLATINUM PAINTER hung on for third. The final time for the one mile and one-sixteenths on the turf was 1:43.44.
HARVEY'S LIL GOIL paid $4.30 to win, $2.80 to place, and $2.60 to show. She is by AMERICAN PHAROAH out of GLORIA S, by TAPIT. She wins her first start of her 2021 campaign, improving her record to 5 wins, 1 second, and 2 thirds from 10 total starts. She pushed her earnings to $824,029 with this effort.
The $150K Vagrancy Handicap (G3) was won by VICTIM OF LOVE, ridden by Joel Rosario, trained by Todd Beattie, owned by Tommy Town Thoroughbreds LLC — in an impressive score.
VICTIM OF LOVE broke well for Joel Rosario and tracked the pace from second, as the field raced compact through the backside, no more than three lengths covering them front to back. They open the quarters in 23.01 and 45.64. VICTIM OF LOVE makes an early move for the lead and seizes command at the top of the stretch while still in hand. The 3-2 favorite PACIFIC GALE commenced her rally from the back of the pack, coming within two lengths of the leader. But VICTIM OF LOVE is not to be denied; she kicks home smartly to win by two lengths. SADIE LADY ran second, PACIFIC GALE finished third. The final time for the six and a half furlongs on dirt was 1:17.27.
VICTIM OF LOVE paid $6.30 to win, $3.90 to place, and $2.40 to show. She is by SPEIGHTSTOWN out of SPACY TRACY by AWESOME AGAIN. She earned her second Grade 3 victory, improving her overall record to 6 wins, 3 seconds, and 3 thirds from 18 total starts. She pushes her earnings to $408,199.
The $200K Peter Pan Stakes (G3) was won by PROMISE KEEPER, ridden by Luis Saez, trained by Todd Pletcher, owned by Woodford Thoroughbreds LLC, WinStar Farm LLC and Rock Ridge Racing LLC — with an impressive late kick, repelling the late charge by NOVA RAGS.
PROMISE KEEPER broke a bit awkwardly but raced up close to the pace for Luis Saez, tracking WOLFIE'S DYNAGHOST through opening quarters of 24.53 and 48.62. He takes command at the quarter pole and briefly duels with NOVA RAGS in mid stretch before ultimately pulling away to win by two lengths. NOVA RAGS was soundly defeated in second, OVERTOOK finished third. The final time for the one mile and one-eighth was 1:50.71.
PROMISE KEEPER paid $5.00 to win, $2.90 to place, and $2.20 to show. He is by CONSTITUTION out of MIRA ALTA by CURLIN. He notches his third victory of his lightly raced career, pushing his earnings to $184,600, while achieving his highest speed figure to shoe.
The $700K Man o' War Stakes (G1) was won by CHANNEL CAT, ridden by John Velazquez, trained by Jack Sisterson, owned by CALUMET FARM — in game score, hanging on by a nose over a fast-closing GUFO.
CHANNEL CAT broke well for John Velazquez but had to duel for the early lead with FIELD PASS. Together they pushed a quick opening quarter of 22.6 as the field raced out of the first turn. They were at least twenty lengths from front to back. Johnny Velazquez then sneaks a breather for CHANNEL CAT as they traveled through the backside. They ran the second and third quarter in 47.53 and 1:12.45. The field begins to catch up to the leaders and they are now compact at the turn-for-home. GUFO is unleashed from the back of the pack, and he's switched into the clear for his run, storming down the middle of the stretch. But CHANNEL CAT still had something left! He digs deep in the final strides and reaches for the wire, hanging by a nose to win. GUFO had to settle for second, MOON OVER MIAMI finished third. The final time for the one mile and three-eigths was 2:13.34.
CHANNEL CAT paid $18.40 to win, $6.30 to place, and $4.10 to show. He is by ENGLISH CHANNEL out of CARNIVAL KITTEN by KITTEN'S JOY. He finds the winner circle for the first time in almost two years. He notches his first victory at Belmont Park, and his earnings now exceed $1.37 million.
The $100K Gold Fever Stakes was won by BEREN, ridden by Manuel Franco, trained by Robert Reid Jr., owned by Susan C Quick and Christopher J. Ceifarek — with a determined rally.
BEREN broke well for Manuel Franco but was shuffled back by about two lengths, while the pacesetters pushed the opening fractions in 22.79 and 46.07. He's switched to the outside and begins to travel very smoothly, improving to within a length of the lead without being asked. When they turn for home, CANDY MAN ROCKET seizes the lead dashes for home. But BEREN is a determined foe, he lengthens his stride and closes in on CANDY MAN ROCKET and gets the favor of the head bob to win by a nose. CANDY MAN ROCKET has to settle for second. DOUBLEOSEVEN was six lengths back in third. The final time for the six furlongs on dirt was 1:11.25.
BEREN paid $8.60 to win, $3.90 to place, and $3.10 to show. He is by WEIGELIA out of SILMARIL by DIAMOND. He brings home his third career victory in 8 total starts, pushing his earnings to $160,420, while achieving his highest speed figure to date.