Check the Label rewarded jockey Ramon Dominguez’s patience
in the Grade 2, $150,000 Sands Point for 3-year-old fillies at Belmont Park on Memorial Day, splitting horses
after finding room to draw clear to a handy score.
Winner of the Grade 3 Appalachian at Keeneland the last time
she went postward, Check the Label settled in midpack along the rail and raced
behind a wall of horses as the field turned for home. Forced to check slightly
at the head of the lane, the Brereton C. Jones homebred found a seam with a
furlong to go and needed only minimal urging to kick clear to a 1 ½-length
victory over Crescenda.
“At the three-eighths there was a little bit of concern
because I knew the one and two fillies [Ultimate Class and More is Better]
wouldn’t necessarily keep going, and sure enough I found myself on heels,
trying to find a way through,” said Dominguez. “I was just pleased that after
having to check my filly she was able to be there for me.”
Check the Label had just two wins from nine starts when she
entered the Appalachian, but winning trainer Graham Motion believes the
Kentucky-bred daughter of Smart Strike has improved vastly in recent months.
“I thought at the top of the stretch she might be in
trouble, but she is good enough that she was able to overcome it,” said Motion.
“This filly has changed more than any other I have in the barn; she just keeps
getting better, so it’s really exciting. I really haven’t looked beyond this
race. We have plenty of options.”
The 5-2 second choice in the field of seven, Check the Label
returned $7.40 for a $2 win bet and negotiated the 1 1/8 miles over the inner
turf course in 1:47.16. With the victory, she improved her record to 4-2-1 from
11 starts and boosted her career earnings to $253,927.
Negligee, the 2-1 favorite, flattened out to finish 4 ¼
lengths behind the winner. Khancord Kid, More Is Better, Hit It Rich, and
Ultimate Class completed the order of finish. Strike It Rich was scratched.