(fom Belmont Park reports)
Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey's On the Bus patiently waited for 60-1 front-runner Ma Femme to empty her tank, then forged to the front end and held off Sabellina for a two-length victory in the $150,000 Ticonderoga Handicap for New York-bred fillies and mares at Belmont Park Saturday.The Ticonderoga was one of the highlights of New York Showcase Day, which featured seven feature races for state breds.Although breaking from post 10, 5-2 favorite On the Bus and jockey Pablo Fragoso bided their time and bought position as Ma Femme forced her way to the front under jockey Julio Pezua.When they turned for home, On the Bus made a winning move to the lead. She had only to hold off a late charge by Sabellina as she notched her fourth win in 10 career starts. She is now 3-for-4 at Belmont Park. The final time was 1:50 for the 1 1/8-mile event on the inner grass course.Ma Femme, who faded to last in the 12-horse field, opened up six lengths between herself and the field by going the first quarter of a mile in :24 2/5. She led by 3 1/2 after completing the half in :49 1/5.
Trained by Dale Romans, On the Bus is a 4-year-old Ghazi filly that returned $7.20 to win.
After Sabellina, Little Buttercup was a length behind in third, followed by Lady Libby, Big Tease, Kate Winslet, Beebe Lake, Bobbie Use, Raffie's Dream, Perfect Energy, Buck Mountain and Ma Femme.
(Chart, Equibase)Friendly Island Shocks 'Electrician' in Hudson
Anstu Stable's Friendly Island used his speed to full advantage Saturday afternoon, leading at every call and winning the $125,000 Hudson Handicap by 3 1/4 lengths over favored Clever Electrician.With leading jockey John Velazquez going for his fourth win of New York Showcase Day, Friendly Island accommodated his pilot by breaking with the leaders from the rail and going in :22 2/5; :45 2/5 and :57 2/5 on the fast track, finally stopping the timer at 1:09 2/5 for six furlongs.Todd Pletcher trains the winner, a 3-year-old chestnut colt by Crafty Friend who earned $75,000 fo his fifth win in six starts. Friendly Island captured his first stakes victory and fourth win a row."He was awesome," Velazquez said. "We talked in the paddock and didn't know what everyone was going to do. There was so much speed in there. I said if he breaks slow I am going to take him back and see how he does. I went to take him back a little bit and he took off. Once we turned down the lane he went." Friendly Island, who returned $8.10 to win, carried 115 pounds, while Clever Electrician, the 13-10 choice who saw a two-race win streak halted, carried high weight of 121 pounds. Papua was third, followed by Salty Character, Uncle Camie, Top Shoter and Sea Cloud. Affair in the Air was scratched.
(Chart, Equibase)Irish Colonial Gets Lucky in Mohawk 'Cap
Fred J. Martin and Blue Sky Farm's Irish Colonial, who had four consecutive third-place finishes, finally got a little luck to get to the wire first as the favorite in $150,000 Mohawk Handicap on the turf.The 5-year-old son of 1993 Belmont Stakes winner Colonial Affair covered the nine furlongs on the "good" inner turf course in 1:48 4/5 and finally ended a nine-race losing streak with a half-length victory over Certifiably Crazy."It's great to get him back in the winners' circle," said trainer Randy Schulhofer. "He hasn't had much luck, but today, everything fell into place." With jockey John Velazquez aboard, Irish Colonial rated inside behind a pace of :24 1/5; :48; 1:12 1/5 and 1:36 3/5. Sandwiched most of the way, he took off when he got clear and got up for the win. His next start will likely come in Aqueduct's $150,000 Red Smith Handicap (gr. IIT) at nine furlongs on the turf on Nov. 20. Irish Colonial returned $$5.70 to win.
Cruising Victory for Pelham Bay in Maid of the Mist
Evelyn W. Pollard's Pelham Bay, sporting blinkers for the first time, won the $100,000 Maid of the Mist for 2-year-old fillies at a mile by 4 1/2 lengths.It was the third win in six lifetime starts for the Pat Kelly-trained Smart Strike filly, who returned $11 to win. Under jockey Shaun Bridgmohan, Pelham Bay was kept just off of speedy favorite Megascape who went in :22 4/5; :46 and 1:11 2/5 on the fast track. But as Megascape backed up, Pelham Bay drew clear and took a six-length lead into the lane. She came home in 1:39 2/5.Karakorum Splendor, Social Virtue, Royal Fudge, Speed Bag, Megascape, No Way No How, Tiffany Touch and Kiki B completed the order of finish.
Galloping Grocer Brings Home Bacon in Sleepy Hollow Bacon Robert D. Rosenthal's and Bernice Waldbaum's Galloping Grocer loped to a 7 1/2-length victory in the $100,000 Sleepy Hollow for 2-year-olds.The victory was the third for this A.P. Jet gelding. Galloping Grocer took jockey John Velazquez to the lead to set a controlled pace of :23 2/5; :46 3/5 and 1:11. Carminooch and Distinctive Trick tried, but the race was clearly over as Galloping Grocer exited the turn. He came home with no pressure in 1:37 4/5.Trainer Dominick Schetttino said the next test for Galloping Grocer appears to be the $200,000 Remsen (gr. II) at nine furlongs at Aqueduct. It would be his first start around two turns. Galloping Grocer was an overwhelming crowd favorite and returned $2.30 to win. He created a minus show pool of $11,221.Naughty New Yorker was up for the place, followed by Carminooch, Accurate, Distinctive Trick and Precision Perfect.