ELMONT, NY — In addition to the hallowed Belmont Stakes, the NYRA offered an all-star stakes card on June 9.
Here's a look:
Abel Tasman, the 2017 Eclipse Award winning 3-year-old filly, took the Grade I Ogden Phipps Stakes handily when she went to the lead passing the five furlong pole and went on to win handily. She defeated five rivals and stepped the mile and a sixteenth in 1:40.36 for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert and Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith.
The win also earned her a spot in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Distaff at Churchill Downs in Nov. 3. She now sports a record of seven wins from 13 starts with earnings of $2.4 million.
Monomoy Girl, racing for Long Island developer Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stables and the Elkstone Group stamped herself as the leading candidate for the 3-year-old filly Eclipse Award when she won her third straight Grade 1 stake in the $700,000, Grade 1 Acorn. That wins goes to her trophy case next to Churchill's awards for the Grade 1 Ashland and the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks.
The Brad Cox and jockey Florent Geroux defeated five rivals in the mile contest that was run in 1:34.10 over a fast Belmont strip. The daughter of the red hot sire Tapit now has a record of seven wins from eight starts with earnings over a million and half dollars. If all goes down the traditional trail for 3-year-old fillies, look for Monomoy Girl in Saratoga's Grade 1 Alabama.
The veteran campaigner Hopportunity gave the silver-maned Baffert his second stakes win of the afternoon when the bay son of Any Given Saturday and jockey Flavien Prat took the lead in the stretch and went on to win the $400,000 Brooklyn Invitational by 2-1/4 lengths over the 9 to 10 favorite War Story.
Hopportunity, who races for the California consortium of Kart Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman; captured his ninth race from 32 starts. The NYRA's check for $222,000 boosted the 7-year-old horse's purse earnings over the $4.7 million mark. He ran the mile and half in 2:28.61 on the fast main track.
Patricia Generazio, a long time Thoroughbred owner who campaigns a lot of her stock in the Mid Atlantic region, took two shots at winning the $400,000, Grade 2 Jaipur Invitational at six furlongs on the Widener Turf Course. She and trainer Christophe Clement succeeded when Disco Partner got up to win the race for jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. and Pure Sensation, the pace setter from the gate to the head of the stretch, who finished third for rider Kendrick Caramouche.
The win for the New York-bred Disco Partner, the 3 to 2 favorite, was his second straight in the Jaipur. It earned the 6-year-old Disco Rico horse an expenses paid trip to Churchill and a starting spot in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint as part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge “Win and You're In” program.
Still Having Fun charged down the stretch to defeat 10 rivals and capture the 34th running of the $400,00, Grade 2 Woody Stephens Stakes, a race honoring the Hall of Fame trainer who sent out five winners of the Belmont Stakes. With Joel Rosario in the irons for trainer Tim Keefe, the Maryland-based colt won his fourth race from eight starts.
At the wire, it was Still Having Fun 1-1/4 lengths ahead of Engage and Jose Ortiz. The 3-year-old son of Old Fashioned from the Dehere mare Casual Kiss, deposited $220,000 into the account of partners Gary Barber, Wachtel Stables and Terp Racing.
The German-bred A Raving Beauty gave owner Michael Dubb and jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. their second trip to the winners' circle when the 5-year-old mare came four wide around the leaders on the far turn and posted her win in the 21st running of the $700,000 Longines Just A Game Stakes for fillies and mares at one mile on the Widener Turf Course.
The Chad Brown trainee was a half length to the good of Proctor's Lodge in the race that was run in 1:32.14 on a firm course. A Raving Beauty is now 4 for 8 lifetime with earnings over the half million dollar level.
Bee Jersey, a Kentucky-bred son of Jersey Town who has raced in the United Arab Emirates, Kentucky, Texas and Arkansas took his act to New York and came away with a victory in the $1.2 million, Grade 1 Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap for Canadian mining executive Charles Fipke and Hall of Fame Trainer Steve Asmussen.
The 4-year-old now boasts a record of five wins from 10 starts. The winner's check from thje 125th running of the Met Mile puts him a few dollars short of joining the Equine Millionaires Club.
After the one-turn mile was completed in 1:33.13 on a fast track, the photo finish camera showed Bee Jersey, the 3 to 1 favorite the winner by a nose over the 4 to 1 Mind Your Biscuits, the winner of the $2 million Golden Shaheen at Meydan in March. Limousine Liberal, the winner of a Grade 2 at Churchill in his last out, took third money.
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