Cavorting and Florent Geroux take the Ogden Phipps Stakes.

Cavorting and Florent Geroux take the Ogden Phipps Stakes.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Cavorting Kicks Clear in Ogden Phipps

Bernardini filly loves Belmont Park, where she has won four of five starts.

Cavorting closed from far back and drew off to score June 11 in the $1 million Ogden Phipps Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park, a track she loves. 

Video: Ogden Phipps S. (G1)

Stonestreet Stables' 4-year-old Bernardini  filly is now 4-for-5 at the New York oval for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. She used a May 14 victory in the Ruffian Stakes (gr. II) there as a springboard for her second grade I victory; she won the Test Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course in 2015.

"Her pedigree indicated that she wanted to go further," said McLaughlin, who collected his second Phipps victory in a row after winning in 2015 with Wedding Toast. "The jockey did a great job. One turn is great, and we're real happy to win the Phipps two years in a row.

"I was happy during the race because she was settled. She can get keen, so when she settled, I was happy. I just wanted her to wait and go outside."

Jockey Florent Geroux was in the irons for the first time aboard 4-1 Cavorting, since Javier Castellano, who rode her in the Ruffian, had the mount on 2015 Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) winner Stopchargingmaria. That rival did not run so well, winding up sixth in a field of seven after pressing the pace set by 58-1 shot Desert Valley.

"She broke well and I was able to relax her at the back of the pack," Geroux said. "She settled very nicely for me and when I asked her to go down the lane she responded well."
 
"She didn't (have a lot left in the stretch). Sometimes she can be a little tricky. She can be aggressive in a race. The question was the distance. She ran seven-eighths and the mile, but today was a mile and a sixteenth. It was the first time she went the distance, so it was really exciting."

Desert Valley was hustled out to the lead and put up fractions of :23.37 and :46.20 before 9-5 choice Curalina took over from her and Stopchargingmaria. But Curalina's advantage was short-lived, as Geroux swung Cavorting out for her run from sixth.

The bay filly took over with a big move around the final turn and drew off through a 1:34.02 mile to a 2 1/2-length win over Apple Blossom (gr. I) winner Forever Unbridled, finishing 1 1/16 miles in 1:40.14 on a fast track. Carrumba was a head back in third, while Curalina checked in fourth. Sheer Drama, Stopchargingmaria, and Desert Valley completed the order of finish.

Todd Pletcher, trainer of both Curalina and Stopchargingmaria, called the race a downer.

"I was pretty disappointed in the outcome, but it looks like both came back well. We'll regroup," he said.

Cavorting, bred in Kentucky by Swettenham Stud out of the Carson City mare Promenade Girl, was a $360,000 purchase from the Eaton Sales consignment to the 2012 Keeneland November breeding stock sale. She improved her record to 6-1-1 from 12 starts while returning $10.60, $5.50, and $4.10. Forever Unbridled paid $4.90 and $3.50, and Carrumba brought $5.20.

The Ogden Phipps is a Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" event for the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I), assuring the winner a berth in the starting gate for the race, along with pre-entry and entry fees paid.

"I'll have to look at where we go next," McLaughlin said. "Probably at Saratoga, something at two turns. We'll see. She's on a good roll."