With multiple Eclipse Award-winning jockey Javier Castellano picking up the mount in the $400,000 Belmont Gold Cup Invitational Stakes (G2T), Call To Mind moved to the lead in the fourth turn of the two-mile test and still had plenty of punch remaining to hold off two other European-bred starters.
Finishing in 3:16.78 on the Widener turf course, the 4-year-old son of Galileo earned the first graded/group stakes win of his career. The victory also marked the first graded stakes win in the U.S. for the queen since 2000, when Fictitious won the De La Rose Handicap (G3T) on the Gulfstream Park turf.
"We knew this was the kindest track in America, being such a lovely turf course and so well looked after," said John Warren, racing manager for the queen.
With the Belmont Gold Cup picking up graded status this year, three European-trained invaders made the trip to Elmont, N.Y., for the marathon test. Early on, last year's American St. Leger Stakes (G3T) winner Postulation showed the way under Florent Geroux as Call To Mind tracked from second.
"He's a horse at home that fits in a group 2-level caliber, and there aren't many group 2-level races written," Warren said. "When looking over the program, this was the perfect race."
Postulation cruised through six furlongs in 1:15.53, a mile in 1:40.49, and 1 1/4 miles in 2:04.10, with Call To Mind rating just off the pace throughout. They stayed that way through 1 1/2 miles in 2:29.61, but midway through the race's final turn, Call To Mind offered her best and quickly opened a two-length advantage.
Favored Call To Mind paid $5.60, $4.10, and $3.20. Canessar returned $7 and $5, and Prince of Arran paid $5.70.
"European horses, you need to cover up a little bit, then let them finish," Castellano said. "I like the way he finished, very impressive. I'm very grateful to these types of horses."
Canessar picked up his second graded stakes placing since moving to the barn of Arnaud Delacour last year. Prince of Arran was shipped to the U.S. by trainer Charlie Fellowes for Friday's race.