Third in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), the daughter of El Corredor bounced back superbly from last month's seventh-place finish in the American Oaks (gr. IT) over a firm Hollywood Park course. All three of Backseat Rhythm's victories have come on the grass for trainer Patrick Reynolds, including a six-length romp against entry-level allowance foes over Belmont Park's course May 23 on good footing.
“We knew all along (that she was a turf horse)," said Reynolds, who is enjoying a strong Saratoga meet with a limited number of starters. "The filly that she beat last year when she broke her maiden (Country Star) immediately registered two grade I wins, so that’s a pretty good indication. We were after the Breeders’ Cup because you don’t have $2-million races all the time.
"We put her back on the dirt and she ran two very respectable races in the Frizette (gr. I, where she finished second) and in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, when she fell on her face at the start and was a real bang-up third behind a champion in Indian Blessing and Proud Spell.”
Ridden by Javier Castellano, Backseat Rhythm, sent off at 6-1, was rated near the back of the pack after stumbling slightly at the start. Encanto Park set moderate fractions while pressed by Raw Silk. The latter, with Alan Garcia aboard, took the lead at the top of the stretch as the field closed in and the grade II winner took them down the lane. But Castellano unwound Backseat Rhythm, who was extremely wide on the far turn, in the lane and she responded well under urging to quickly sweep to the lead leaving the furlong pole. She drew away for a 3 1/4-length win.
“Being that far out of it and going 10-wide on the turn is never a good thing, neither is running into a slow pace," Reynolds said. "But the good ones overcome everything."
Castellano added, "I rode with a lot of patience. I was saving ground all the way the first turn and the backside. At one point I had to go around a horse and I saw everybody start backing up. I lost a lot of ground on the far turn but I thought it was the best way for her, letting her make one big, strong move.”
Reynolds said the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. IT) at Keeneland Oct. 11 "sounds very tempting.”
Rosa Grace, closing from between horses under Julien Leparoux, overtook Raw Silk for second by 1 1/4 lengths.
Fractions for the first six furlongs of the 1 1/8-mile event for 3-year-old fillies were :23.79, :49.21, and 1:12.90. The final time was 1:50.69.
Favored I Lost My Choo, coming into the Lake Placid after a sharp late-running 1 1/2-length tally in the Virginia Oaks (gr. IIIT), never threatened with Edgar Prado aboard.
"She was a little rank at the beginning of the race," Prado said of the fifth-place finisher. "When I cut her loose I guess she didn’t like the track.”
Backseat Rhythm's third win in 11 lifetime starts was worth $90,000 for owner Paul Pompa Jr., and boosted the bay filly's earnings to $457,195. Bred in Kentucky by Hill 'n' Dale Farm and Spast Farm, Backseat Rhythm was a $75,000 Keeneland yearling buy in September 2006. She is out of the Kissin Kris mare Kiss a Miss.
Sent off as the fourth choice in the field of eight, Backseat Rhythm paid $14.40, $6.80, and $5.30. British-bred Rosa Grace, steadied and pinched back at the start, returned $11.40 and $6.70 while completing a $2 exacta worth $180. Raw Silk, winner of the Sands Point (gr. IIT) May 31 for trainer Thomas Albertrani, was $5 to show.
Namaste's Wish, I Lost My Choo, Encanto Park, Zaskar and Much Obliged completed the order.
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