(from Belmont Park)
One main track record fell and a second was tied on a beautiful fall day of racing at Belmont Park Oct. 21.
In the first race, Repole Stable’s Super Shape took charge from the start and then shook off a challenge in the stretch from Todd Got Even to draw off by 2 3/4 lengths and equal the Belmont Park 6 1/2-furlong main track record of 1:14.46 (VIDEO).
The 5-year-old Argentina-bred son of American Chance tied the mark set by multiple graded stakes-winning sprinter Bear Fan in the Vagrancy Handicap (gr. II) in 2004.
Two races later, Oxbow Racing’s chestnut 3-year-old Birdrun blew away a first-level allowance field by 8 1/4 lengths and broke the 11-year-old record for 1 1/16 miles on the main track set by Rock and Roll, finishing in a time of 1:39.38 (VIDEO). The old mark was 1:39.51.
Under first-time rider Javier Castellano, Super Shape ran the first half-mile in :45.40, then sped the final 2 1/2 furlongs in :29.06.
“I never rode that horse before. I was very impressed,” Castellano said. “He warmed up good in the post parade. [Trainer] Bruce [Levine] said his best races are on the lead, and he said, ‘Let’s put him there and see what happens.’”
Although predominantly competing in claiming races, Super Shape has run fast in the past, including a 1:09 for six furlongs on June 14 at Belmont Park. He has now won six of 15 starts and earned $137,847.
Birdrun, a son of 2004 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Birdstone , has developed into a talented prospect this fall for trainer Bill Mott. After breaking his maiden by 10 1/4 lengths in July at Saratoga, he turned in two strong second-place efforts in allowance races before winning under jockey Ramon Dominguez.
Birdrun pressed the fast pace set by Precious Package before taking over on the turn and running away to his track-record-setting score.
The colt has now won two of seven lifetime starts.