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C. S. Silk flies home in the Just a Game Stakes.
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Rick Samuels

C.S. Silk Smooth in Just a Game Upset

C.S. Silk led nearly every step of the way in Just a Game score at Belmont Park.

C. S. Silk spurted away from her eight rivals to score a 12-1 upset in the $400,000 Foxwoods Just a Game Stakes (gr. IT) on the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) undercard June 11 (VIDEO).

Javier Castellano sent the 5-year-old daughter of Medaglia d'Oro  out quickly for the one-mile test, quickly grabbing the lead from Much Rejoicing in the first 100 yards. She was never headed after that. Although threatened on the turn, C.S. Silk kicked into overdrive and, while drifting out through the stretch, kept her foes at bay, winning by three lengths in 1:40.53 on the good turf course.

C.S. Silk is owned by William Pacella, Fred Barbara, and George Bonomo. She has a record of seven victories in 24 lifetime starts good for $776,896 in earnings and is conditioned by Dale Romans. Her only previous stakes triumph came last summer at Saratoga when she took the Addison Mallery Stakes.

Most recently, C.S. Silk was ninth after setting the pace in the April 16 Jenny Wiley Stakes (gr. IIT) at Keeneland over yielding turf. While the Widener turf course at Belmont was listed as good for the Just a Game, it was changed to yielding immediately afterward.

The winner carved out fractions of :25.24, :50.58, and 1:15.59 while being chased by Much Rejoicing, Amen Hallelujah, and Cherokee Queen. Fantasia came with a big run down the center of the course once the field turned for home, but C.S. Silk had running on her mind, and held Fantasia at bay. It was another one length back to Amen Hallelujah in third.

“I know the turf is soft," Castellano said. "She loves it; she handled it so well. She was comfortable on the lead. She really enjoyed the trip. It was beautiful. I think the key was getting her to relax at the first quarter. For the first quarter of a mile, she was relaxed. We walked with the 25-second first quarter. The rest was history. When I asked her, it was like I pushed a button and she took off.”

C.S. Silk was bred in Kentucky by Hermitage Farm out of the Settlement Day mare Remember the Day. Prior to the Just a Game, her most recent win was in an optional claimer last November at Churchill Downs over a yielding turf course.

“The turf today suited us perfectly," Romans said. "She's from Medaglia d'Oro’s first crop, and everybody knows what his fillies have done. She has three or four half-brothers and sisters who are stakes horses, and it’s huge getting a grade I win with her. We’ve had her since she was a yearling, and she has been a little bit fickle where she’d throw in a bad race and then throw a good one. We just can't give up on her. She pays you off when she's right.”

The winner paid $27.20, $12.60, and $7.50. Fantasia returned $5.80 and $3.70, while Amen Hallelujah was $5.60 to show. The exacta (4-6) returned $145.50.

Justaroundmidnight was fourth, followed by Gypsy's Warning, favored Aviate, Much Rejoicing, Strike the Bell, and Cherokee Queen.