Lucy Bassett’s homebred Meditations was the 9-to-10 favorite in the field of eight sophomores, but was eased and pulled up at the three-eighths pole after racing on the inside down the backstretch.
“She demonstrated lameness in the left front leg," said track veterinarian Dr. Mary Scollay in a statement. "The preliminary exam did not yield a diagnosis. She was tranquilized, given some analgesics, and returned in the horse ambulance for evaluation by Dr. Gustavo Vautier.”
Lisa M finished third, one length behind the runner-up.
Christmas Kid, ridden by Rene Douglas, chased a decent pace set by Pretoria Light, who went :23 4/5 and :47 for the opening fractions before Christmas Kid took the lead. Christmas Kid widened to a three-length advantage at the eighth pole and continued to expand her advantage under urging.
"She broke sharp and was able to track (Pretoria Light)," said Douglas, who rode Christmas Kid for the first time. "After she made the turn for home, she was just cruising.”
Trained by Jimmy Jerkens, the daughter of Lemon Drop Kid --Christmas Gift (by Green Desert) had made her last three starts on turf, capturing the Tropical Oak last out at Calder on New Year’s Day most recently. Her only previous main track effort came in her debut, finishing fourth at Saratoga sprinting in August. She has won three of five starts overall with earnings of $186,587.
“You could see the way she was training, the way she would work next to other horses on the dirt, that it was just effortless," said Jerkens. "When you have a horse doing good, you want somewhere to run, and having the long turf races at Belmont, I knew she had the lung capacity, so we gave her a shot. I’d have to think maybe the Bonnie Miss (Mar. 10) might be next. Two turns is different, but she’s done it already, and it looks like she’ll rate kindly.”
She was timed in 1:37:34 for the one-turn mile on a fast track and paid $13.60, $5.80 and $5.60 as the third choice. High Again, winner of back-to-back races for Bill Mott, returned $4.60 and $4.80 with Joe Bravo aboard. Lisa M, Cornelio Velasquez riding, was $6 to show.
Then came Pretoria Light, Nasseem, Acadia Breeze and Post Invader.