Chimichurri Puts it Together in Tempted Stakes

Chimichurri broke alertly and made every pole a winner as she cruised to victory in the 27th running of the $110,400 Tempted Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct on Sunday.

Chimichurri, who was ridden by John Velazquez, won the flat-mile race for juvenile fillies in 1:37 2/5. She paid $4.60 as the 6-5 favorite.

"The track seems a little tighter today and I think the fractions helped her, too," said winning trainer Todd Pletcher. "She had a little seasoning edge in here and I think her last race was a little tougher on paper than this one. She finished up pretty good and it looked like she galloped out well."

Peachtree Stable, which purchased the chestnut Kentucky-bred juvenile filly by Elusive Quality, out of Hard Knocker (Raja Baba) for $250,000 as a yearling earned $66,240 for the victory. Chimichurri is now 3-2-0 from five starts with earnings of $148,340.

None of the other seven horses in the field went for the lead, allowing Velazquez to ease to the front. He never moved through fractions of :23 3/5, :47 and 1:11 3/5 and used mild urging to keep Chimichurri running through the stretch.

"She was very good today," said Velazquez, who won his third Tempted Stakes. "I was concerned about her getting the mile, but the pace played to our advantage and she rated great. She was very tough. I don't think she has to be on the lead, but I wasn't going to fight her and try to take her back when no one else went."

Reheat, under Shaun Bridgmohan, finished second, 1 1/4 lengths back. Bonay and Edgar Prado were third.

Velazquez and Pletcher teamed up to win the 2001 Tempted with Smok'n Frolic.

(Chart, Equibase)