Paul Pompa Jr.'s Backseat Rhythm came with a five-wide move and rallied from fifth at the top of the stretch, eventually getting up in the final strides under Javier Castellano to win the $250,000 Garden City Stakes (gr. IT) (VIDEO) by a half-length on Belmont's yielding turf course Sept. 6.
Just as she did when taking the Lake Placid (gr. IIT) on Saratoga’s yielding turf last month, Backseat Rhythm waited near the back of the pack in the early going. She was more than three lengths from pacesetter Raw Silk when they reached the eighth-pole, but the 3-year-old daughter of El Corredor began her charge shortly thereafter and had her sights set on Ariege and My Princess Jess, who were the leaders inside the sixteenth-pole. Backseat Rhythm finally took over in the final strides.
The final time for 1 1/8 furlongs was 1:51.82.
IEAH Stables’ even-money entrymates Pure Clan and Ariege were next, respectively, followed by My Princess Jess.
Trained by Patrick Reynolds, Backseat Rhythm seems to have found a home on the turf, as she has won four of six starts on that surface, including three of her last four. Her only loss during that span came three starts back in the grade I American Oaks Invitational at Hollywood Park when she finished fifth. Current entrants Pure Clan and Satan’s Circus ran one-two in that event.
Bred in Kentucky by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm and Spast Farm, and out of the Kissin Kris mare Kiss a Miss, Backseat Rhythm was a $75,000 Keeneland 2006 September yearling sale purchase. She has now earned $607,195 from 12 starts.
“She’s by no means an Amazon, but she’s got a great stride on her,” Reynolds said. “It was great coming from that far back with no pace. She’s a no excuse filly. She either gets there or she doesn’t and she always gives you her best. She handles any kind of turf.
“We’re invited to the Queen Elizabeth II (gr. IT, Oct. 11 at Keeneland). I hear that when you are invited, they give you a free meal. I’m a sucker for that, so we’ll see what happens.”
Edgar Prado guided Raw Silk to the early lead in the Garden City, setting easy splits of :25.36, :49.98, 1:14.72 and 1:39.55. Alwajeeha pressed the pace through the backstretch. Raw Silk still led by a narrow margin into the stretch, but My Princess Jess inched closer towards the hedge and was nearly on even terms. Ariege and Alan Garcia came up to challenge from the outside.
My Princess Jess and Ariege dueled briefly inside the sixteenth-pole, but they were soon joined by Backseat Rhythm and Pure Clan, who was also late getting into the mix. Julien Leparoux, who was aboard Pure Clan, claimed foul against the winner for interference in the stretch, but after a brief delay it was disallowed by stewards.
“You have to be patient with her,” Castellano said. “If you rush her too much, she starts switching leads back and forth. When she went by the other horse, she switched leads. She loved the yielding course. I think this is the best going for her.”
The third betting choice in a field of eight, Backseat Rhythm paid $11.80, $4.30 and $3.90. The exacta (5-1) returned $32, while the trifecta (5-1-3) was worth $98.
Raw Silk, Alwajeeha, Shaker and Satan’s Circus completed the order of finish.