Tweedside Romps in CCA Oaks; Favorite Unseats Rider
by Blood-Horse Staff
Date Posted: 7/21/2001 6:10:35 PM
Last Updated: 7/22/2001 10:27:57 PM

Jockey Chris McCarron is unseated by favored Starrer at the start of Saturday's Coaching Club American Oaks.
Photo: AP/NYRA/Adam Coglianese
After 4-5 favorite Starrer unseated jockey Chris McCarron just after the start, 11-1 Tweedside went on to win Saturday's $350,000 Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I), giving sire Thunder Gulch a sweep of Belmont Park's 1 1/2-mile main track stakes races for 3-year-olds. In June, Thunder Gulch-sired Point Given won the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes (gr. I).

McCarron was uninjured in the mishap.

"I don't know why she stumbled," he said. "Usually when they stumble out of the gate, it's within three or four strides. She was running when it happened. She kicked me on my butt but I'm okay."

Under John Velazquez and on a fast track, Tweedside completed the distance in 2:30.70, 7 3/4 lengths ahead of runner-up Exogenous. There was a gap of 21 1/2 lengths back to third-place Unbridled Lassie. Ten Flags came home fourth, followed by Majority Whip and early pacesetter Tap Dance. Classy Place was eased.

"She was going so well at the start I couldn't believe it," said Velazquez. "The farther we went, the more she relaxed. Down the backside she started pulling me a bit, but she was still within herself. Tap Dance was running wide and instead of going around her I decided to shoot up the rail. She gave me a really big kick today."

The win marks the second straight for Tweedside and her third in four starts since returning in April from a brief freshening. Last time out, she won the Sands Point after the race was switched off the turf course.

"After the Sands Point is when we considered running her in this race," said trainer Todd Pletcher. "Things had to fall in place. If the Sands Point did not come off the turf, we probably would not have thought about this. She's bred to stay and I thought the ingredients were there to take a shot."

The filly, out of the Roberto mare Twitcett, earned $210,000 for the win, her fourth in 10 career starts. Tweedside is conditioned by Pletcher for owners Eugene and Laura Melnyk and was bred in Kentucky by Dr. and Mrs. R.S. West and Mr. and Mrs. Mackenzie Miller.

Tweedside returned $23.40, $6.50, and $5.40. Exogenous paid $4 and $3. Unbridled Lassie returned $5. The winning exacta combination returned $84.50. (Chart, Equibase)

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