Roundup: La Coronel Wins at Keenland; Engage Wins Futurity at Belmont & more

Engage wins the $150,000, Grade 3 Futurity at Belmont Park on Oct. 14, 2017. Credits: Chelsea Durand | NYRA
Rubilinda passes the pace-setting long shot Sylphide at the top of the stretchto go on to win the $200,000 Pebbles Stakes at Belmont Park on Oct. 14, 2017. Credits: Viola Jasko | NYRA
European traveler Happy Like A Fool defeated four rivals in the six-furlong $150,000, Grade 3 Matron at Belmont Park on Oct. 15, 2017 Credits: Joe Labozzetta/NYRA

La Coronel jumped out to an early lead and then repelled a serious challenge from Daddys Lil Darling on her way to a win in Keeneland's final Grade 1 race if their fall season, the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, on Oct. 14.

Racing in the pale blue colors of Kentucky horseman John C. Oxley, La Coronel defeated nine rivals in the mile and an eighth turf contest for 3-year-old fillies on an autumn afternoon that was undoubtedly ordered up by the Lexington Chamber of Commerce.

After setting all the pace, the daughter of Colonel John from the Chester House mare Listen entered the Keeneland stretch with a 2-length lead and jockey Jose Lezcano asking for more.

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With Robby Alvarado riding hard, Daddys Lil Darling came running outside the leader and just missed at the wire. The photo finish camera showed the margin to be a half length in La Coronel's favor. The Irish-bred Madam Dancealot and Jamie Theriot were 3-1/2 lengths farther back in third.

The teletimer showed LaCoronel ran the nine furlongs in 1:48.98 over a firm turf course.

The win for the Mark Casse-trained filly was her fifth from 12 lifetime starts. The winner's check for $300,000 put her earnings over the three quarters of a million dollar mark.

Her QE II Cup win was her fourth graded stakes win and her third in three races over the Keeneland infield. Oxley already owned the trophies from last fall's JP Morgan Chase Jessamine (Grade 3) and this year's Appalachian (Grade 3).

At Belmont Park...

After breaking alertly and then being taken back off the pace by jockey Jose Ortiz, Woodford Racing's Engage charged home to win the $150,000, Grade 3 Futurity as the odds on favorite.

The Chad Brown trainee made his third lifetime start a winning one when he defeated four 2-year-old rivals in the six-furlong dash in 1:10.09 on Belmont's fast main track

In his previous outings, the son of Into Mischief from the Speightstown mare Nefertiti ran second in a maiden special weight at Saratoga and then galloped out of the maiden ranks with a win on the Spa's closing day.

The NYRA paycheck for $90,000 raised the colt’s earnings to $156,400.

Barry Lee and Joel Rosario placed second. Mojovation and John Velazquez collected third money.

A little more than a half hour later, Brown and Ortiz teamed up for their second stakes win of the afternoon when Rubilinda overhauled the pace-setting long shot Sylphide at the top of the stretch and went on to post the win in the $200,000 Pebbles Stakes at a mile on the turf.

The Don Alberto Stables color bearer defeated eight rivals in a race that is a sure shot to be upgraded to Grade 3 next year. She ran the mile in 1:34.72 over a firm turf course.

The win in the Pebbles was second in listed races for the daughter of British champion Frankel from the Irish-bred mare Rubina. She was the victor in Belmont's Christiecat earlier in the season.

The Pebbles win boosted Rubilinda's lifetime record to three wins from five starts with earnings of $240,000.

The filly version of the Futurity was run on Sunday as Belmont's $150,000, Grade 3 Matron.

After being bumped at the start, European traveler Happy Like A Fool defeated four rivals in the six-furlong sprint.

Valuable Package lost traction on her hind end coming out of the gate and put a serious bump on Happy Like a Fool. Tyler Gaffalione got his filly back in stride and settled into a stalking position behind Valuable Package.

After racing greenly in the stretch, Happy Like a Fool crossed the line 2-1/4 lengths ahead of Take Charge Paula and Paco Lopez.

Valuable Package was another eight lengths back in third

Trainer Wesley Ward sent out the daughter of Distorted Humor from the Sky Mesa mare Lastofthesummerwine with blinkers removed to run the six furlongs in 1:10.96 over a fast track.

After Happy Like a Fool broke her maiden at Keeneland in the spring, she placed second in Ascot's Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes and finished second at York in the Grade 2 Lowther 

NYTHA Announces Candidates for Board of Directors, President

Richard Violette, Jr.The New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association has announced its list of candidates for seats on the board of directors and its sole candidate for president.

The major news in the announcement is the absence of the name of trainer Richard A. Violette, Jr. as a candidate for president.

Violette, who has been at the group's helm since 2006, said in a NYTHA statement, "I've thought long and hard about whether or not to run for president again this year.

"I've been on the board for more than 25 years, and am truly proud to have served beside really dedicated directors and great staff, and of all that we've accomplished together. It has been incredibly rewarding. But I've decided to take my name off the list of candidates this year. It's time," he concluded.

Joe Applebaum, a founder of Off The Hook Racing, is the only candidate seeking to succeed Violette.

Applebaum entered the sport of Thoroughbred racing when he claimed his first horse in 1999.

In 2002, he and trainer Carlos Morales formed Off The Hook which has since evolved into a racing and sales company that operates a farm and training center near Ocala, Florida with offices in New York City.

Applebaum his completing his first term on the NYTHA board.

Each director will serve a three year term.

The candidates for owner/director are: Andy Aaron, Tina Marie Bond, Jack Brothers, Jim Caterbone, Tom Durkin, Terry Finley, Kim Laudati, Robert Masiello, Michael Shanley and Aron Yagoda.

The candidates for trainer/director are: Jimmy Ferraro, Leah Gyarmati, Patrick Kelly, John Kimmel, Linda Rice, Richard Schosberg and George Weaver.

Ballots are being mailed to eligible voters. The ballot box closes Dec. 4.

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