Trainer Todd Pletcher opted to keep his ace Wait a While in the barn for Saturday's $246,000 Garden City Breeders' Cup (gr. IT) but Magnificent Song proved quite a capable substitute, winning by two lengths on the Belmont Park inner turf course.The mildly-favored Magnificent Song, ridden by Garrett Gomez, unleashed a devastating late kick in the race of 3-year-old fillies to corral Take the Ribbon in the final furlong and win her first grade I race going away in a time of 1:48 2/5 on good footing.
Pletcher also trains Jade Queen, the third-place finisher who was making her stakes debut. Wait a While is being pointed to the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. IT) at Keeneland next month, although Pletcher said he is reconsidering that.The gray Magnificent Song trailed the field of 11 down the backside, split horses a couple of times on the far turn, and angled out deftly in upper stretch for running room. She surged to victory while widest of all on the outside under slight urging. "The more she has raced, the more professional she has gotten," Gomez said. "She put me where I needed to be. She's really got an honest kick. At the top of the stretch, I just knew I had to get her out I don't think she'll have any trouble with longer distances. She has really progressed this year."The Wally Dollase-trained Take the Ribbon, second in the Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT) in her last start, stalked pacesetter Quite a Bride early, then fell back to fifth under Julien Leparoux, before rallying three wide to take a short lead in the stretch. While no match for the winner, she held on gamely for second."I was very pleased with her, we got a good ride from the jockey," said Dollase. "I was very pleased. I'm not saying she could have won it, because the filly that beat her was pretty good. I was pleased to beat quite a few good fillies."Quite a Bride carved fractions of :23 1/5, :47 and 1:11 4/5.Coming off a victory in Saratoga's Lake George (gr. IIIT), Magnificent Song, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Unbridled's Song--Song to Remember (Storm Cat) won for the fifth time in nine lifetime starts for owner L and D Farms. She has earned $394,924."She is improving each time," Pletcher said of the winner. "The better she is settled early on, the bigger her late kicks come. The ground seems a little on the soft side, and I was a little concerned that we would get too far back. But when they went :23 and change that helped. That was big -- a grade one win for her with her pedigree is terrific."I thought Jade Queen also ran very well; this was a big step up for her," Pletcher said. "I'm beginning to have some second thoughts about running Wait a While in the Queen Elizabeth, just because it only gives her three weeks to the Breeders' Cup. It opens up the Flower Bowl as a possibility for Wait a While. We'll see how everyone comes out of this race and go from there."Belmont's $600,000 Flower Bowl (gr. IT) at 10 furlongs is Oct. 7. The Breeders' Cup takes place at Churchill Downs Nov. 4.Classic Star bred Magnificent Song, a $625,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale in August 2004.The winner paid $7.70, $3.70, and $2.70. Take the Ribbon, second by a half-length, returned $5.20 and $3.90. Jade Queen, ridden by John Velazquez, was $4.60 to show.The Irish-bred Chaibia, a group III winner at Deauville in her last start Aug. 1, finished fourth in her U.S. debut for trainer David Smaga. Maxxi Arte was next, followed by La Mottie, Quite a Bride, Carriage Trail, Delmarva, May Night, and In Return.(Chart, Equibase)