John Velazquez was determined not to let heavily favored Holiday Runner get an easy lead in the Fashion Stakes Thursday at Belmont Park. He challenged her aboard La Violette on the backside and through the turn in the five-furlong stakes. Holiday Runner, however, had no trouble shaking her off, then held off a late charge from Miss Mary Apples to remain unbeaten in three starts.
Holiday Runner, by Meadowlake, ran the distance in :58.26 under Jerry Bailey.
"We both left there running. It's a two-year-old race, and you just have to ride hard," said Bailey. "He (jockey John Velasquez) was pressing me and there was really nothing I could do about it. We got a little bit of a breather off the turn. She's got a tendency to wait on horses. With her blinkers and that other horse (Miss Mary Apples) out in the middle of the track, I'm not sure she saw her. She's a little filly, but she's very talented."
On Kentucky Derby Day, she won the Three Chimneys in her second start, having broken her maiden during the Keeneland April meet. Owned by S J Bee Stable, the 2-year-old filly is trained by D. Wayne Lukas.
"I freshened her since the Derby Day race," said Lukas. "I don't think we really screwed down on her to get this one. She was real impressive today. The four-horse (LaViolette) drops completely out it; she ran with us a long way. (Jerry) Bailey said that she was going through the motions in the stretch, and that sometimes gets you beat. But she had enough left."
The Fashion kicks off the stakes program that culminates Saturday with War Emblem's bid for the Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Holiday Runner and La Violette went the opening quarter in :21.46 and the half in :45.14.
"She jerks the heart out of them right out of the gate," said Lukas. "She put two to three lengths of daylight on those babies at Churchill, and they're not used to seeing a horse so far in front of them. I haven't talked to the ownership, but I would say that we'll probably wait until the Opening Day at Saratoga ($150,000 Schuylerville, gr. II)."
The 1-5 favorite in the six-horse field following the scratch of Forever Partners, Holiday Runner paid $2.60, $2.20 and $2.10. Miss Mary Apples paid $3 and $2.10 and Milliondollarlady returned $2.10. There was more bet to show on Holiday Runner than to win. (Chart, Equibase