A pair of scintillating performances kicked off the first two of
seven stakes on the inaugural Big Apple Showcase Day at Belmont Park,
Lovely Syn streaking to a 10 ¼ length victory in the $125,000 Bouwerie
and the redoubtable Saginaw powering to his fourth straight win of the
year in the $100,000 Affirmed Success Handicap.
Lovely Syn, ridden by Javier Castellano, popped out of the gate
in front and never looked back as she blazed through an opening
quarter-mile in 21.95 seconds and a half
in 44.34. With Castellano sitting motionless, the 3-year-old Freud
filly spun into the stretch with a 12-length advantage, and after
three-quarters in 1:08.15 was geared down to hit the wire in 1:21.58 for
“I’ve ridden a lot of good horses, but this one is amazing,”
said Castellano of the Dominick Schettino-trained filly, who has won her
four career starts by a combined
margin of 28 ¾ lengths. “She’s a really good horse.”
The 1-4 favorite, Lovely Syn returned $2.50 for a $2 win wager
and has now earned $202,200 for her owner and breeder, Joemar Racing
who was claimed for $30,000 on March 8, 2012 by David Jacobson and
Stable, was boxed in along the rail until the top of the stretch.
Gobbling up ground once clear, the 7-year-old gelding caught Fiddlers
Afleet with a furlong to go and edged away for a half-length win.
Saginaw completed the 6 ½ furlongs in 1:15.39 under Junior Alvarado as he notched his 13th victory in 16 starts since being claimed, including last year’s
inaugural Affirmed Success and seven other stakes. His 10 victories in 2012 were tied for the most in
North America, and he was voted the New York-bred champion older male.
“It’s a very good accomplishment when you start hitting these
kinds of numbers with a horse,” said Jacobson. “It’s exciting for us to
Saginaw going into Saratoga
off a magnificent performance like this. They really had him boxed in
there; they knew who the horse was to beat. He found a way. Like
most great athletes, he has that instinct – he has to win.”
The 4-5 favorite, the bay son of Peruvian returned $3.40 for a $2 win bet, and pushed his bankroll to $914,690.
Amberjack, trained by Mike Hushion for Peachtree Stable, earned
his second straight victory of 2013 when he came from off the pace to
score a 1 ¾-length upset of favored
Weekend Hideaway in the $125,000 Mike Lee, the first leg of the Big
Ridden by Junior Alvarado, the 3-year-old Indygo Shiner colt
settled behind fractions of 22.26 and 45.10 set by Hay Shares, was
tipped three-wide heading into the stretch
and came between rivals to take over from Weekend Hideaway with a
sixteenth to go. His time for seven furlongs was 1:21.64.
“At the five-sixteenths, I started to pick it up because he’s a
big horse and you have to start to kind of early with him,” said
Alvarado of Amberjack, who returned
$26.80. “I asked him, and he responded pretty well for me and kicked
big there at the end.”
Hushion said the $150,000 New York Derby on July 20 at
Finger Lakes, the next leg of the Big
Apple Triple, likely would be the next start for Amberjack. The final
race in the series is the $150,000
Albany on August 21 at Saratoga Race Course.
The first of two turf stakes went to the Brown-trained Shakeira, who kicked in through the stretch to take the $125,000
Mount Vernon for fillies and mares by a neck over Inimitable Romanee.
The 5-year-old Freud mare, claimed in 2011 by Michael Dubb, was
well off the rail toward the back as Lady Candidate set early fractions
of 24.25 and 48.44 over a firm
turf course. Going five wide into the stretch, Shakeria caught up with
Inimitable Romanee with a furlong to go and prevailed in the final
It was her second victory in as many starts this year, having taken an optional claimer on April 20 at Aqueduct Racetrack.
“This filly has been a real pleasure to have in the barn,” said
Brown of Shakeira, who completed a mile in 1:35.75 and returned $3.70 as
the 4-5 favorite. “She’s so
easy going and very easy to train. We freshened her over the winter,
and she responded really well. [Owner] Michael Dubb and his partners
deserve a lot of credit because I just kept her with me all winter at
Palm Meadows. They went along with the plan.”
Clear Pasaj went wire-to-wire and held off a fast-closing Lady
On the Run in the final yards to win the $100,000 Dancing Renee by a
head. The 4-year-old Smoke Glacken
filly was sent through fractions of 23.15, 45.90 and 1:09.98 by jockey
Jose Ortiz, crossing the finish line in 1:22.60 for her first win after
three straight second-place finishes.
“She broke good and put me in a very good position,” said Ortiz.
“The No. 1 horse [Beautiful But Blue] put a little pressure on me
early. My filly waited a little bit
in the stretch, but when she felt the other horses coming she started
Trained by Bruce Levine for owner-breeder AnJes Farm, Clear
Pasaj is now 5-5-0 from 13 career starts. Sent off at 4-1, she returned
$10.40 for a $2 win bet.
In the afternoon’s most lucrative event, Readtheprospectus ran
his winning streak to six as he took the lead in the stretch and went
onto a 1 ¼-length victory in the
$150,000 Commentator, giving jockey Junior Alvarado his third stakes
win of the day.
Trained by Chad Brown, whose Shakeira earlier won the
Readtheprospectus raced a few lengths behind Fox Rules as he led the
field of six through fractions of 23.84 and 46.71. Moving up in tandem
with Spa City Fever around the turn,
he edged away from that rival through the stretch and completed 1 1/16
miles in 1:41.17. It was the first stakes win for Readtheprospectus, who
is now 6-1-1 from nine starts for Klaravich Stables and William H.
“What a pleasant surprise he has been,” said Brown of the
4-year-old Read the Footnotes gelding, who returned $4.70 for a $2 win
bet. “He’s always acted like a horse
with some talent, and after his first couple of starts we started
experimenting with him and learned that it was more about the distance
than the surface. Here’s a horse who wants to run all day, and I think
he can run on both surfaces effectively. He ended
up on the dirt by default [in his fifth start] in a rainout situation,
and we’ve just kept him on it. He’s not crazy about one turn, but he did
King Kreesa wrapped up the stakes action with a wire-to-wire victory in the $125,000
at a mile on the turf. With Irad Ortiz, Jr. aboard, the 4-year-old King
Cugat gelding set sensible fractions of 23.87 and 47.71 and had plenty
left to turn back a late flurry from Kharafa
for a 2 ¼-length victory.
Favored Lubash was another half-length back in third.
King Kreesa covered a mile in 1:33.99 as he notched his first
win in three 2013 starts. The 3-1 second choice, he returned $8.60 for a
$2 win bet and extended his career
record to 4-3-2 from 13 starts for owners Gerald and Susan Kresa.
“This was a tough field today,” said trainer Jeremiah Englehart.
“Those horses are going to be knocking heads all year. I’m sure we’re
going to give them some wins,
and, hopefully, they’ll give us one or two more.”