Discreet Marq, a New York-bred who has competed primarily in grade I company since winning the 2013 Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT), tops the oversubscribed field of fillies and mares entered in the Oct. 18 Ticonderoga Stakes at Belmont Park.
At 1 1/16 miles on turf, the $200,000 Ticonderoga is the ninth on the 11-race card for horses bred in New York. The Saturday "Empire Showcase Day" card includes eight stakes races with total purses of $1.75 million. With 16 entries in the Ticonderoga, there are four also-eligibles.
Discreet Marq, Patricia Generazo's homebred daughter of Discreet Cat trained by Christophe Clement comes into the race at 1 1/16 miles with a career record of 6-5-3 in 18 starts and earnings of $947,900. Since traveling West to take the Del Mar Oaks, the 4-year-old filly has a listed stakes victory to her credit while being winless, but competitive, in seven additional starts.
Previous to this week's race, Discreet Marq has had two seconds, a third, a fourth, and a sixth while never worse than four lengths off the winner in grade I stakes and a second in the Yaddo Stakes. She was voted New York-bred champion 3-year-old filly and grass mare in 2013.
Topweighted at 123 pounds is Invading Humor, a 4-year-old daughter of Invasor who has a four-race win streak for owner Bloodlines Racing Partnership and trainer Bruce Levine. The winner of half her 12 starts with earnings of $303,700, Invading Humor will have the services of jockey Joel Rosario as she seeks to win her second stakes in a row after taking the John Hettinger for New York-breds last month.
Back to defend her 2013 Ticonderoga title is Effie Trinket, who finished third in both the Yadodo and John Hettinger for owner Patsy Symons and trainer Richard Violette. Unlike Discreet Marq and Invading Humor who do their best running on or up close to the lead, Effie Trinket usually comes from slightly off the pace. The 4-year-old daughter of Freud who has won or placed in 14 of 17 starts has four stakes triumphs to her credit, including the 2013 Hettinger.
The Mohawk Stakes, a $200,000 New York-bred event at 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf, marks the renewal of the rivalry between King Kreesa, Lubash, and Kharafa, who have dominated the older horse restricted stakes ranks over the last two years. All three share top weight of 123 pounds.
In their most recent meeting, Lubash rallied from last to defeat King Kreesa and Kharafa in the Ashley T. Cole Stakes Sept. 14. Previous to that victory, Lubash had finished second to King Kreesa in the West Point Stakes.
Lubash, who could reach millionaire status with a Mohawk win, has a career tally of 11-8-4 in 37 starts for owner-breeder Allyu Ben J Stables and trainer Clement. The 7-year-old horse by Freud has finished in the money in each of his last eight starts and has a grade III victory in the 2013 Fort Marcy Stakes to his credit.
Gerald Kresa and Susan Kresa's King Kreesa is trained by David Donk and is also back to defend his title in the Mohawk, having won last year's renewal by 1 1/4 lengths. The 5-year-old gelded son of King Cugat was sent to Hong Kong last December following his 2013 Mohawk win, resulting in a 12th-place finish in the Longines Hong Kong Mile (HK-I) and a lengthy absence from competition afterward.
In his first start off the layoff, King Kreesa won the West Point, then finished second in the Ashley T. Cole.
Paul Braverman and Timothy Pinch's Kharafa is trained by Timothy Hills and has won or placed in 18 of his 24 starts. The 5-year-old gelded son of Kitalpha won the Kingston Stakes for New York-breds in May. Belmont Park, Saturday, October 18, 2014, Race 4
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L 1 1Kharafa (NY) Angel S. Arroyo 123 Timothy A. Hills - 2 2Analysis (NY) Joel Rosario 117 George Weaver - 3 3King Kreesa (NY) Irad Ortiz, Jr. 123 David G. Donk - 4 4Captain Gaughen (NY) Manuel Franco 119 James T. Ryerson - 5 5Harbor King (NY) Taylor B. Rice 118 Richard Metivier - 6 6Ocala Jim (NY) Jose Lezcano 117 David G. Donk - 7 7Saturday Appeal (NY) UNKNOWN 118 Richard E. Schosberg - 8 8Notacatbutallama (NY) John R. Velazquez 119 Todd A. Pletcher - 9 9Lubash (NY) Junior Alvarado 123 Christophe Clement - 10 10Front (NY) Jose L. Ortiz 119 James A. Jerkens -
Belmont Park, Saturday, October 18, 2014, Race 4
Belmont Park, Saturday, October 18, 2014, Race 9
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L 3 1Selenite (NY) John R. Velazquez 118 David G. Donk - 6 1AChrysolite (NY) Cornelio H. Velasquez 114 David G. Donk - 1 2Mah Jong Maddnes (NY) Taylor B. Rice 121 John Morrison - 2 3Run to Mama (NY) Junior Alvarado 117 John C. Kimmel - 4 4Palace Dreams (NY) Dylan Davis 117 David P. Duggan - 5 5Invading Humor (NY) Joel Rosario 123 Bruce N. Levine - 7 6Strike Accord (NY) Angel S. Arroyo 117 John C. Kimmel - 8 7One Time Only (NY) Jose Lezcano 117 Philip M. Serpe - 9 8Old Harbor (NY) Manuel Franco 118 Russell J. Cash - 10 9Effie Trinket (NY) Jose L. Ortiz 119 Richard A. Violette, Jr. - 11 10Discreet Marq (NY) Irad Ortiz, Jr. 119 Christophe Clement - 12 11Stock Fund (NY) Edgar S. Prado 117 Carlos F. Martin - 13 12Caribean Beat (NY) Michael J. Luzzi 117 Thomas M. Bush - 14 13Life's a Stage (NY) Wilmer A. Garcia 117 Joseph A. Lostritto - 15 14The Tea Cups (NY) Manuel Franco 117 Jeremiah C. Englehart - 16 15Devious Maddy (NY) Joel Rosario 117 Leah Gyarmati -
Belmont Park, Saturday, October 18, 2014, Race 9