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Breeders' Cup 2017

Check The Label Headlines Garden City

Check the Label and jockey Ramon Dominguez win the Sands Point at Belmont Park in Elmont NY.

The first Grade 1 event of Belmont Park’s fall championship season takes place Saturday afternoon with Check the Label going for her fourth straight win as she faces seven other 3-year-old turf fillies in the 33rd running of the $250,000 Garden City.


Although precocious as a 2-year-old, Check the Label didn’t start putting things together until this spring, said H. Graham Motion, who trains the filly for Lael Stables. Having come close in her first three starts of 2010 in Florida, the daughter of Stormin Fever broke through for her first graded stakes win in the Grade 3 Appalachian at Keeneland, and followed that with a good-looking pair of victories in the Grade 2 Sands Point at Belmont and the Grade 3 Virginia Oaks at Colonial Downs in July.


“She changed more than any other horse in the barn this year, and I think it is due to maturity as much as anything,” said Motion of Check the Label, the 5-2 favorite in the 1 1/8-mile Garden City. “Each time she’s raced she has improved, and her race in Virginia was a continuation of that. Stepping up into a Grade 1 is a big step, as there is a lot more competition, but she’s given me every indication she’s ready.”


Having been given a freshening following the Virginia Oaks, Check the Label was to have returned in the Grade 3 Lake Placid to kick off her fall campaign, but was scratched when the race was taken off the turf.


“In hindsight, that was probably a blessing in disguise,” said Motion. “Now she’s had plenty of time between starts, to point towards the nice races in the fall.”


Ramon Dominguez has the mount on Check the Label, the 120-pound highweight, from the rail.


A familiar foe for Check the Label is Negligee, who finished third as the beaten favorite in the Sands Point, after which she had a chip removed from one of her front ankles. The daughter of Northern Afleet, winner of the Grade 1 Alcibiades in 2009, soon returned to training at Saratoga in August, and she most recently zipped five furlongs in 59.16 over Belmont’s inner turf on Sunday.


“She really has been doing wonderfully,” said trainer John Terranova of Negligee, who is 2-2-1 from seven starts on synthetics and turf. “I am looking forward to having her back.”


Rajiv Maragh rides Negligee, 6-1 on the morning line, from post position 6.


Triple Cream, who was relocated to New York this summer, is looking for her first graded stakes score in the Garden City. Most recently third in the off-the-turf Lake Placid, the Tapit filly previously finished third in the Grade 3 Boiling Springs in her East coast debut and was then second in the Desert Vixen, also at Monmouth, in July.

“[Owner] Bobby Flay wanted to bring her East because there was more opportunity for her,” said trainer Jimmy Toner. “She’s a sweet filly, does everything the right way. She’s been right there in all of her races, and we’d like to find something to put her over the top. We had blinkers on her [in the Lake Placid] but you’d have to throw that race out. We’ll see what happens.”


Alan Garcia is aboard Triple Cream, 6-1 on the morning line, from the outside.


Trainer Tom Proctor returns to New York with a pair of fillies who were successful going a mile at Saratoga Race Course - Queen of the Creek, who won an optional claimer and a division of the Riskaverse, and Snow Top Mountain, runner-up in the Hattie Mosely and the second division of the Riskaverse.


“I think the extra distance plays right into Snow Top Mountain’s hands, but the ones who might try to chase Queen of the Creek might have their hands full,” said Proctor.


Queen of the Creek, with Julien Leparoux aboard, drew post position 4 at 3-1, while Snow Top Mountain, under Hall of Famer Edgar Prado, leaves from post 7 at 5-1 on the morning line.


Rounding out the field are the Dale Romans-trained Persuading, an impressive front-running winner of her turf debut going 1 1/16 miles on August 20 at Saratoga; No Explaining, who rallied from far back to finish third in the Grade 2 Lake George at Saratoga in July, and Gitchee Goomie, who has been second, beaten less than a length, in three state-bred allowance starts this year.


The field for the Grade 1 Garden City:








Check the Label (KY)

R A Dominguez


H G Motion



Gitchee Goomie (NY)

E Coa


R A Violette, Jr.



Persuading (KY)

A O Solis


D L Romans



Queen of the Creek (KY)

J R Leparoux


T F Proctor



No Explaining (IRE)

J R Velazquez


R L Attfield



Negligee (KY)

R Maragh


J P Terranova, II



Snow Top Mountain (KY)

E S Prado


T F Proctor



Triple Cream (KY)

A Garcia


J J Toner






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