The "Giant Killer" H. Allen Jerkens did it again Saturday as Irving and Marjorie Cowan's Society Selection, under a patient ride by Ray Ganpath, came from well off the pace to run down Victory U.S.A. close to home in the $500,000 Frizette (gr. I) for 2-year-old fillies at Belmont Park Saturday.
Sent off at 8-1, the daughter of Coronado's Quest, sixth and three wide on the final turn, came on strong in the lane to cover the 1 1/16-mile Frizette in 1:43 4/5 to defeat Victory U.S.A. by a length. Favored Ashado was third, but offered little response in the stretch for jockey Jose Santos.
"I think this is my first grade I win with a two-year-old," said Jerkens, who helped Ganpath get his first grade I victory of any sort. "Ray has always gotten on this filly every since she came in from the farm. I know who the great riders are, but they can't get on them in the mornings and get a good association with them. It's a case of how important you think that is.
Society Selection, a homebred out of the Dixieland Jazz mare All That Jazz making her second start, debuted Aug. 18 with a late-running 3 1/2-length triumph in a maiden race at Saratoga.
"I don't think she was that good when she won at Saratoga, but I should have had an inclination because she worked faster than I asked her to work," Jerkens said. "Ray is usually right about the works. When she worked in 1:13 one morning, he said, `I can't believe she is going that easy.' We had to try to do something to get her used to rating, so we worked her behind horses. It's hard to go from five furlongs to a mile and a sixteenth. I would imagine that if she is sound and eats well, we'll go to the Breeders' Cup. She should be able to manage two turns."
Jerkens reputation for winning with longshots was reinforced Friday night when his Bowman's Band won the Meadowlands Cup.
Victory U.S.A inherited the lead from longshot Please Take Me Out, who clicked off fractions of :23 1/5; :47 1/5 and 1:12 1/5, and Victory U.S.A. had things in her favor. But Ganpath weaved Society Selection to the outside and finished with a flourish.
"She broke sharp, but the boss said to take her back because there was a lot of speed in the race," said the 30-year-old Ganpath, a native of Trinidad who went to work for Jerkens three years ago. "These are two-year-olds going a mile and a sixteenth for the first time. We were hoping some of them would be coming back to us. That's exactly what happened. She ran great and this feels great."
Victory U.S.A finished two and three-quarter lengths ahead of third-place Ashado. Ashado's stablemate, Marylebone, finished last.
"I thought Ashado ran well," said trainer Todd Pletcher. "She got in a position where she had to wait at the five-eighths pole to the quarter pole to find a place to go. She took a little while to go, but I thought she ran a good race.
"As for Marylebone, according to Mike (Luzzi, jockey), she was making some noise. It sounds like she might have displaced her palate."
Favored Daydreaming was fourth.
Society Selection, off at 8-1, paid $18.40, $8.50 and $4.80. Victory U.S.A., who was ridden by Jerry Bailey for trainer Bob Baffert, returned $4.40 and $3. Ashado's show price was $3.