It was the fourth consecutive score and first grade I victory for the daughter of Stormin Fever, who was bought privately by Roy and Gretchen Jackson's Lael Stable from breeder Brereton Jones after she won the July 17 Virginia Oaks (gr. IIIT) last out. The dark bay/brown filly is trained by Graham Motion.
Check the Label, near the hedge while rounding the final turn, had to be swung wide into the lane by Dominguez, who kept her reserved at the back of the pack in the early going and inched closer toward the leaders after six furlongs. After finding room while going three-wide into the stretch, she collared longshot Gitchee Goomie at the sixteenth pole and held off a late charge by Snow Top Mountain to win by three parts of a length.
The final time for 1 1/8 miles on the yielding Belmont turf course was 1:51.41. Snow Top Mountain, with Edgar Prado aboard, was one length better than third-place Gitchee Goomie, who was sent off at 21-1 in a field of seven 3-year-old fillies.
Queen of the Creek set a moderate pace under Julien Leparoux, clicking off splits of :23.39, :47.80, and 1:13.11 for six furlongs. Grade I winner Negligee, Triple Cream, and Persuading were closest to the leader in the opening stages.
“On soft ground like this, it’s very difficult to make up that kind of ground and she just overcame all the trouble," Dominguez said. "She showed that she’s a nice filly. She gave me a great kick; really, it’s hard to appreciate how much I had to take away from her. For any horse it would have been a perfect excuse not to finish up after that because of all the run that I took away from her, but she was there for me.”
Check the Label, sent off as the even-money choice, began her season with three straight defeats, but put it all together in the April 15 Appalachian Stakes (gr. IIIT) for her first stakes victory. She followed with wins in the May 31 Sands Point (gr. IIT) at Belmont and the Virginia Oaks triumph at Colonial Downs.
Bred in Kentucky, the winner is out of the Mazel Trick mare Don’t Trick Her. She has won six of 13 starts.
"Ramon had to steady her coming out of the turn; once again he was impressed with how she is able to get herself out of trouble," Motion said. "She’s got such a tremendous turn of foot she can get herself out of almost any situation. That’s part of what makes her special.
"The Jacksons and I will discuss what’s next for her; we’ll look at the Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup (gr. IT, Oct. 16 at Keeneland).”
Check the Label paid $4, $2.70, and $2.10. The exacta (1-7) returned $18.40 and the trifecta (1-7-2) was $108.50.
Persuading was fourth, followed by Queen of the Creek, Negligee, and Triple Cream.