A good-sized crowd of local breeders and owners, pinhookers, and curiosity seekers showed up for the first session of the inaugural New York Breeders' Sales Co.'s yearling sale Thursday night. The sale, which had a county fair-like atmosphere, was conducted under blue-and-white-striped tents at the Yaddo show grounds near Saratoga Race Course.
Pentatonic and Secret Status, who had hoped to hook up in the Ruffian Handicap (gr. I) last Saturday, instead ran at Belmont Park today in an allowance race. The Ruffian, a prep for the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) was part of a card canceled at Belmont after the terrorist attacks Sept. 11 on the World Trade Centers.
When racing resumes at Belmont Park on Wednesday after five days of cancellations due to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the stakes schedule will continue as published, according to the New York Racing Association. However, because of conflicts with other stakes races during the fall meet, four of the five graded stakes cancelled last weekend--the Ruffian, Belmont Breeders' Cup, Matron and Futurity--will not be rescheduled.
Shug McGaughey sure loves these dead weekends in early spring to showcase his fillies. Last year, on April 1, the trainer grabbed what little headlines there were available by sending out Finder's Fee to win the seven-furlong Cicada Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies at Aqueduct. This year, on March 31, the Next Move Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, was one of only four $100,000 races run over the weekend. And once again, it was McGaughey stealing the headlines, saddling the 4-year-old Atelier to a thrilling nose victory for owners Helen C. and Helen K. Groves and Dorothy Matz.
Pompeii rebounded from her defeat in the Affectionately Handicap on January 13 for a handy 3 3/4 -length victory in the $110,300 Rare Treat Handicap for fillies and mares Monday at Aqueduct.
Start with a hard-hitting New York-bred, who's been fast enough to win more than $775,000, making the last start of her career in a race she won last year. Add a six-year-old mare that earned $389,000 in 2000, chasing the likes of Beautiful Pleasure, Riboletta and Heritage of Gold and top it off with an improving four-year-old that has taken giant steps forward over the last few months, giving every indication she'll be a force in major New York stakes this year. And right there you have the makings of a Rare Treat -- or, specifically, Monday's President's Day feature at Aqueduct, the 29th running of the Rarae Treat.
Deprived a victory last time out when she caused interference, Sheila Sherry's Pentatonic stayed far back and out of everyone's way Saturday afternoon in the grade III, $110,500 Affectionately Handicap at Aqueduct. As a result, jockey Aaron Gryder had all the room he needed to send the 6-year-old Cure The Blues mare on a six-wide rally through the lane produced a victory. It was a nice way to start the New Year, as Pentatonic ended 2000 by winning the Ladies Handicap on Dec. 16, only to be disqualified and placed second as she bore in on Strolling Belle.
Atelier scored a seven-length victory in Aqueduct's Saturday co-feature, the $113,200 Turnback the Alarm Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares 3 years old and up.
Riboletta ran off to a 7 1/2-length victory over Gourmet Girl to take the $250,000 Ruffian Handicap (gr. I) for fillies and mares for her fifth straight victory. Ridden by Chris McCarron, the 5-year-old bay mare pressed the early pace set by Lu Ravi and Country Hideaway, then moved to the front on the far turn before pulling away with ease through the stretch.
West Coast distaff handicap leader Riboletta will concede from eight to 12 pounds to her six rivals when she goes to post as the 125-pound highweight in Saturday's $250,000 Ruffian Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
John C. Oxley's Beautiful Pleasure earned a front-running win in in the $400,000 Personal Ensign Handicap (gr. I) Friday at Saratoga. Under Jorge Chavez, Beautiful Pleasure raced wide around both turns while alone on the lead before racing down the center of the track through the stretch, finishing five lengths clear of Back in Shape.
Beautiful Pleasure and Heritage of Gold will begin their rematch from neighboring starting gate stalls as the two drew post positions two and three, respectively, for Friday's $400,000 Personal Ensign Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga.
Heritage of Gold and Beautiful Pleasure continued preparing for their expected rematch in the $400,000 Personal Ensign Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga Aug. 25, completing workouts at that track Friday morning.
Beautiful Pleasure dominated her five rivals Saturday at Belmont Park.
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