Once he started winning, he never stopped. Favored Readtheprospectus made it six in a row on New York Showcase Day June 1 at Belmont Park, taking the $150,000 Commentator Handicap in powerful fashion (VIDEO) on the main track.
Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence's 4-year-old gelded son of Read the Footnotes is undefeated since breaking his maiden for trainer Chad Brown last October over the yielding Belmont lawn. He has won in slop and on a fast track, at distances from a mile to 1 1/8 miles, with a few 1 1/16-mile victories thrown in.
"What a pleasant surprise he has been," Brown said. "He's always acted like a horse with some talent, and after his first couple of starts we started experimenting with him and learned that it was more about the distance than the surface. Here's a horse who wants to run all day, and I think he can run on both surfaces effectively. He ended up on the dirt by default in his fifth start in a rainout situation, and we've just kept him on it."
In his stakes debut, the bay gelding handily put away five other older New York-breds by opening a clear margin coming off the turn. He then held off the closing effort of So Scott to win the 1 1/16-mile Commentator by 1 1/4 lengths under jockey Junior Alvarado, stopping the clock in 1:41.17 over a fast track.
Readtheprospectus was fourth as 36-1 shot Fox Rules was hustled to the lead from the far outside for a quarter in :23.64. The eventual winner moved up to third behind a half in :46.71 while the pacesetter was chased by Spa City Fever, who would prove to be the main challenge turning for home.
"He broke good and we thought the tough horse would be Spa City Fever," Alvarado said. "I thought he was going to take the lead, and he didn't take the lead, but the plan was to try to stay kind of outside of them without pressure from any horses. I just tried to keep the horse right there in a good position, and at the three-eighths pole he started pulling me along and at the end he just took off."
Three-quarters went in 1:10.43 while Spa City Fever took over, with Readtheprospectus battling close on his outside. Those two powered through the turn before Readtheprospectus shook free of his rival while running a mile in 1:34.81. Behind late-running So Scott came Awesome Vision, Spa City Fever, Icabad Crane, and Fox Rules.
Readtheprospectus returned $4.70, $3.20, and $2.50. Bred by Howard Nolan Jr. out of the Affirmed mare Near Bethany, he was a $30,000 purchase at the Ocala Breeders Sales Co.'s 2011 spring sale of 2-year-olds in training. His record now stands at 6-1-1 from nine starts, with earnings of $304,280.
"He's not crazy about one turn, but he did great today. We'll just keep spotting him around," Brown said.
$125,000 Kingston Stakes
One race later, King Kreesa went wire-to-wire to win the $125,000 Kingston Stakes going a mile on the Widener Turf Course. The former claimer secured the fourth victory of his career and first stakes victory for his connections, Gerald and Susan Kresa and trainer Jeremiah Englehart. He came off a pair of thirds in grade III company to notch the 2 1/4-length score over Kharafa (VIDEO) as the second choice in the field of eight.
A 4-year-old King Cugat gelding, King Kreesa clocked the distance in 1:33.99 under Irad Ortiz Jr. after recording splits of :23.97, :47.71, and 1:11.25. He benefited from some crafty handling by Ortiz a sixteenth out, as the rider guided him closer to the rail to tighten up the lane and prevent an inside move from Kharafa. Favored Lubash finished third, with Abilio, Sneaky Kitten, Lightning Stone, and Minnie Punt rounding out the order of finish. Majestic Raffy scratched.
Bred by Horse Partners out of the Storm Creek mare Storm's Advance, King Kreesa now has a 4-3-2 record from 13 starts, with earnings of $344,370. He paid $8.60 to win.
$100,000 Dancing Renee Handicap
Clear Pasaj was also a wire-to-wire winner in a field of six older New York-bred fillies and mares sprinting seven furlongs in the $100,000 Dancing Renee Handicap, holding safe by a head over Lady On the Run (VIDEO) .
AnJes Farm's homebred 4-year-old Smoke Glacken filly clocked the distance in 1:22.60 under a 118-pound impost including jockey Jose Ortiz. Clear Pasaj registered her first stakes victory for trainer Bruce Levine while winning for the first time since January after a trio of runner-up efforts.
Off at 4-1, Clear Pasaj broke well and assumed a clear lead in opening fractions of :23.15 and :45.90. Miss Valentine, favored at 5-2 and carrying high weight of 120 pounds, slipped through on the inside to make a bid, but then flattened through three-quarters in 1:09.98. Instead, it was Lady On the Run who challenged the pacesetter but could not quite get up in time.
Clear Pasaj returned $10.40, $5.80, and $3.40. Out of the Danzig mare Saintly Scholar, she now has five wins and five seconds from 13 starts for earnings of $271,028.
$125,000 Mount Vernon Stakes
Shakeira got her first stakes victory for Michael Dubb and Bethlehem Stables and won her third straight for trainer Chad Brown when she scored by a neck over Inimitable Romanee in the $125,000 Mount Vernon Stakes going a mile on the lawn (VIDEO).
The 5-year-old daughter of Freud —favored at 4-5—was last at the break in a field of eight fillies and mares 3-years-old and up, and took the overland route to victory when swinging widest of all off the turn before charging home down the center of the track. Early on she rated in sixth, about seven lengths from the lead of Lady Candidate, who went a quarter in :24.25 and a half in :48.44.
Inimitable Romanee took over after three-quarters were run in 1:12.52, but had to settle for second after the late run of the eventual winner, who finished in 1:35.75 under jockey Rajiv Maragh while carrying 117. Elusive Rumor was third, followed home by Dreaming of Cara, Lady's Lunar Luck, Manero, Adriatic Dream, and Lady Candidate. Second choice Kibosh was a late gate scratch, while Schillerette, Yes It's Pink, Princess Mara, and Erin Enchanted scratched earlier.
Shakeira returned $3.70, $2.50, and $2.10. Bred by Joda Farm out of the Magesterial mare Cerita, she now has a 7-8-2 record from 18 starts with earnings of $382,922.
$125,000 Mike Lee Stakes
Amberjack upset the $125,000 Mike Lee Stakes, taking the first leg of the Big Apple Triple at odds of 12-1 (VIDEO). To complete the Triple, the sophomore son of Indygo Shiner now needs to win the July 20 New York Derby at Finger Lakes and the Aug. 21 Albany Handicap at Saratoga Race Course.
Trainer Mike Hushion confirmed that Amberjack will go on to target the New York Derby off his third victory and first stakes for Peachtree Stable.
Weekend Hideaway secured the advantage but was overcome by the eventual winner while fighting down the stretch for three-quarters in 1:09.22. Amberjack took over and kicked away in the final 70 yards for a 1 3/4-length victory in a final time of 1:21.64 for seven furlongs under jockey Junior Alvarado. He carried 118.
Amberjack paid $26.80, $10.20, and $6.20. He was bred by Dixie Farm out of the Crafty Friend mare Free as Tristan and has won three of five starts with a third for earnings of $158,875.
$98,000 Affirmed Success Handicap
Drawing Away Stables' Saginaw turned in another remarkable effort in the $98,000 Affirmed Success Handicap, overcoming early trouble and a tepid pace before shoving his way out at the head of the stretch en route to his 20th win (VIDEO) .
The 7-year-old Peruvian gelding got up over Fiddlers Afleet by half a length in the final strides of the 6 1/2-furlong contest after grinding down the competition with his trademark determination. He finished in 1:15.39 under Junior Alvarado while carrying high weight of 123 pounds and favored at 3-5 in a field of five older runners.
Saginaw returned $3.40, $2.70, and $2.10 while Fiddlers Afleet paid $5.60 and $2.60 and Flying Zealous brought $2.30. Mine Over Matter and Willy Beamin completed the order of finish; Be Bullish scratched.
For a detailed recap, click here.
$122,500 Bouwerie Stakes
Four other 3-year-old New York-bred fillies were no match for Joemar Racing Stables' daughter of Freud , who sparkled in 1:21.58 to clock the second-fastest of 33 editions of the Bouwerie, run at seven furlongs. Favored at 1-4, she led from the start and was in front by two for a speedy first quarter in :21.95 while increasing her advantage through a half in :44.34.
The Dominick Schettino trainee continued to widen away under her own power, flying into the far turn for three-quarters in 1:08.15, and was all by herself down the lane. She put more ground between herself and the rest of the field in spite of being geared down by jockey Javier Castellano, and galloped home under wraps. She was carrying co-highweight of 122 pounds in the field; Carameaway also bore the same.
Lovely Syn returned $2.50, $2.10, and $2.10. A homebred out of the Lemon Drop Kid mare Lemon Drop's Love, she remains undefeated in four starts with earnings of $202,200.