Five years after Lady Eli made her debut a winning one, the turf champion’s half-sister by American Pharoah matched the feat Saturday in winning Race 5 at Belmont Park.
Surprisingly overlooked a bit in the betting, 2-year-old Princesa Caroline struck at 9-2 as the fourth choice in a field of nine under jockey Javier Castellano, who said “she did it very easy.”
Princesa Caroline took a clear, outside trip up the back stretch, then ranged up on pace-setting favorite Laughable through the far turn. Those two were side by side into the stretch until Princesa Caroline edged away to hit the wire win 1:41.67 for a 1/16 miles.
“When I asked her, she took off,” Castellano added.
In the process, Princesa Caroline nudged over toward the rail a bit, forcing jockey Jose Ortiz and laughable to take up. Stewards examined the matter and deemed no changes.
Lady Eli, of course, went on to open her career 6-for-6 with victories in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1). She then overcame a potentially deadly bout of laminitis to return as an older horse, winning multiple Grade 1 races on her way to a 2017 championship as top turf female.
Lady Eli, then in foal to War Front, sold for $4.2 million last November to John Sikura’s His Hill 'n' Dale Farm. She has since then delivered a colt.
Matt Shifman contributed to this report.
Hugo Rodriguez was the groom for Lady Eli and now for her half-sister... pic.twitter.com/ULjodeqaUX— NYRA (@TheNYRA) September 28, 2019