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Check The Label Takes Garden City

Check the Label
Check the Label found racing room coming out of the turn and held off the fast-closing Snow Top Mountain in the final yards Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park to win the 32nd running of the $250,000 Garden City Stakes, her fourth straight victory and first in a Grade 1 race.


The dark bay daughter of Stormin Fever, the even-money favorite in the field of seven 3-year-old fillies, stayed well behind Queen of the Creek as she led through fractions of 23.39, 47.80 and 1:13.11.  Caught behind horses on the turn, Check the Label got herself to the outside approaching the quarter-pole and accelerated through the stretch to take command with a furlong to go, hitting the wire three-quarters of a length in front of Snow Top Mountain.


“On soft ground like this, it’s very difficult to make up that kind of ground and she just overcame all the trouble,” said winning jockey Ramon Dominguez. “She gave me a great kick.”


Check the Label, whose winning streak began with the Grade 3 Appalachian at Keeneland in April and continued with the Grade 2 Sands Point at Belmont Park in May and the Grade 3 Virginia Oaks in July, covered the 1 1/8 miles over the yielding inner turf course in 1:51.41.


“I have a lot of confidence in this filly,” said winning trainer H. Graham Motion of Check the Label, no worse than fourth in each of her past 12 starts. “I thought she would handle the going; she’s handled just about everything thrown at her. Ramon had to stead her coming out of the turn; once again he was impressed with how she is able to get herself out of trouble. That’s part of what makes her special.”


The victory was the fourth from seven starts this year for Check the Label, whose lifetime record is 6-2-1 from 13 starts. With the winner’s purse of $150,000, she has now earned $491,227, and she returned $4 for a $2 win bet to her backers in the crowd of 5,506.


Snow Top Mountain, ridden by Hall of Famer Edgar Prado, was a length in front of Gitchee Goomie, who in turn was followed by Persuading, Queen of the Creek, Negligee, and Triple Cream. No Explaining was scratched.


Although the Breeders’ Cup remains possible for Check the Label, Motion said she was more likely to start in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup for 3-year-old fillies at Keeneland on October 16.


“These Grade 1’s are tough to come by,” said Motion.




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