Millionreasonswhy, invading from Colonial Downs, wore down pacesetting Say a Novena in the stretch and edged away late to register a handy win in the $150,000 Matron Stakes (gr. II) (VIDEO) at Belmont Park July 3.
Ridden by John Velazquez for Sagamore Farm and trainer Ignacio Correas IV, 6-1 shot Millionreasonswhy finished two lengths in front of Say a Novena while clocking six furlongs in 1:12.68 on a track rated fast but dulled by rain earlier in the day. The final time was quicker than the 1:13.36 that Jack's in the Deck turned in while winning the Futurity against males earlier on the program.
Defy Gravity, the 9-5 favorite in the Matron, tired after chasing the pace on the outside and finished fifth.
The Matron and Futurity are new to Belmont's spring/summer meet this season after they were reinstated following a one-year absence on the New York schedule.
A $115,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase by Sagamore last year, Millionreasonswhy is by Grand Slam out of the listed stakes winner In Secure, by A.P. Indy. She was consigned by her Kentucky breeders -- Tom Evans, Tenlane Farm and Oratis -- with Trackside Farm, agent.
Millionreasonswhy made her first start June 11 on a sloppy track at Colonial Downs, rallying after a sluggish beginning to win going away by four lengths over maidens at 5 1/2 furlongs.
"We always thought she was good," Correas said. "We chose to run her at Colonial to give her some experience. She had a really bad break but she won anyway. You cannot ask for a horse to do better than she did [in her first start], so why not give her a shot?
"We’ll look at Saratoga,; she will take us there," he added. "If she comes out good and does good, why not?”
Say a Novena, ridden by Mike Luzzi, took the lead from Dancing Anna soon after the start and led the six-horse field by one length after quarter-mile fractions of :22.84 and :46.75. Say a Novena showed the way to mid-stretch as Millionreasonswhy, launching a wide bid from last with three furlongs to go, challenged on the outside. Millionreasonswhy took the lead shortly thereafter and pulled away under urging from Velazquez.
“I broke out of there and they came out a little, but I pointed right to the inside and they came right back inside of me," Velazquez noted. "I was kind of clipping heels so I said ‘You know what, I’m going to take the safe way. I’m going to go to the outside.’
"It actually worked out very well. I think she’ll go further; very nice.”
Say a Novena was a clear second by 2 1/4 lengths over Dancing Anna, ridden by Jose Betancourt. Good Looking Girl was far back in fourth, followed by Defy Gravity and Hook It Up, who ran into problems leaving the turn.
Under equal weights of 118 pounds, Millionreasonswhy paid $15.80, $6.50, and $4.20 as the fourth choice in the small field. Say a Novena, shipping to New York from Monmouth Park for trainer Edward Plesa Jr., returned $4.90 and $3.20, completing a $66 exacta. Dancing Anna paid $6 to show.
Born Bullish scratched.