American Record Falls on Belmont's Closing Day

(from Belmont Park report)
Keep the Faith, a 5-year-old horse from Australia, set a North American record and shattered the Widener Turf Course record by winning the 6-furlong seventh race in 1:06.82 on closing day of the Belmont Park spring meeting Sunday.

Keep the Faith, owned by Godolphin Stable, won four races in nine starts in his native Australia before moving to New York and trainer Saeed bin Suroor. Sunday was his first start outside of Australia, his first start of the year, and his first start on Lasix. He beat four horses and won by 2 1/2 lengths, paying $9.70 to win.

The previous 6-furlong North American turf record was 1:07 by Answer Do under 115 pounds at Hollywood Park Dec. 15, 1990. Masterclass owned the previous Belmont Park record at 1:07.31 under 114 pounds May 24, 1992.

Keep the Faith, who carried 120 pounds, was ridden by John Velazquez, who replaced an absent Jerry Bailey. The rail was set at nine feet. He saved ground for the entire race, staying two lengths off the pace on the rail, perfectly cutting the turn for home and bursting to the lead.

Keep the Faith – by Sunday Silence, out of Duelling Girl (Dayjur) – earned $33,600 with the victory to improve his career record to 5-0-1 from 10 starts and earnings of $118,095.

In the featured $109,900 Evan Shipman, front-running favorite Yankee Mon held off second choice West Virginia to earn $65,940 for owner Windmill Manor Farm.

Yankee Mon, under Edgar Prado, won the 1 1/16-mile Evan Shipman to pay $5.80, $3.40, and $2.50.

Trained by Juan Rodriguez, Yankee Mon set fractions of :23 1/5, :46 1/5 and 1:11 before winning in 1:43 2/5. West Virginia, under John Velazquez, dropped back in the eight-horse field and made a late run, but he could not wrest away the lead. Yankee Mon won by 1 ½ lengths. Chowder's First finished third under Javier Castellano.

West Virginia paid $3.30 and $2.50, while Chowder's First paid $2.90.

Yankee Mon, a 4-year-old chestnut colt by Maria's Mon, out of Sodeo Sodeo (Seattle Slew), improved his career record to 5-0-1 from eight starts with earnings of $171,762.

Prado finished the meeting as the leading rider with 85 wins.

Racing moves upstate to Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., on Wednesday. The 36-day Saratoga meeting will follow a Wednesday-to-Monday schedule and close on Labor Day Monday, Sept. 5.

(Chart, Equibase)