Baletti rebounded from a disappointing
effort in New Orleans to take the 34th
running of the Grade 3,
$100,000 Fort Marcy, while Dynaslew set all of the fractions to score in the
Grade 3, $100,000 Beaugay for fillies and mares in front of a crowd of 9,405 on
Opening Saturday at Belmont Park.
Owned by Castletop Stable,
Baletti entered the Grade 2 Mervin Muniz, Jr. Memorial Handicap at the Fair
Grounds having won four of his last six starts, but beat just two home to finish
eighth. Looking to get back on track in the Fort Marcy, the 6-year-old gelded son of Gulch
received a well-timed ride from Cornelio Velasquez to collar Dynamoor in the
final sixteenth and earn a half-length victory.
"I had a very good trip," said
Velasquez. "I followed Coa's horse [Dynamoor], he's a tough horse, a very good
horse, and my horse finished up well."
It was an additional two lengths
back to third-place finisher Brother Nick, who was well clear of Storm Play and
Sal the Barber. Grand Couturier, Operation Red Dawn, and Interpatation, all
making their first starts since the autumn, finished sixth, seventh, and
eighth, respectively. Florentino and main track only entrant Ea were
Baletti, who covered the 1 1/16
miles over the firm Widener Turf Course in 1:40.36, will be kept in races at
distances between 1 1/16 and 1 1/8 miles, according to his trainer, Angel Penna,
"This horse has constantly been
improving," said Penna. "His race in New Orleans was a little bit disappointing, but
he was closer to the pace than he needed to be, and it's difficult to win that
close to the pace at the Fair Grounds. We threw the race out, and he came out of
Off as the 5-2 favorite, Baletti
returned $7.40 for a $2 win wager and improved his record to 6-2-2-6 from 21
starts. He was bred in Kentucky by G. Watts Humphrey, Jr. and has now
earned $296,764 in his career.
Earlier in the day, Dynaslew set
leisurely fractions of 25.87 and 50.98 before she kicked clear of her rivals to
run away to a 3 ¼-length success under Eibar Coa in the Beaugay. Making her
second start for trainer Seth Benzel, the Live Oak homebred entered this spot
off a victory in a Gulfstream Park optional claimer on April 2.
"I couldn't have drawn the race
up any better," said Benzel. "Eibar was a lot more patient than I was. It was a
great ride. She came to us in December. She's the type of filly where less is
more; she keeps herself very fit in between races, and all we have to do is keep
Dynaslew, a 4-year-old
Florida-bred daughter of Dynaformer, needed 1:42.39 to negotiate the 1 1/16
miles over the inner turf course. She returned $8.90 for a $2 win bet.