Seattle Smooth wore down Seventh Street in the homestretch to win the Ogden Phipps Handicap (gr. I) (VIDEO) by 1 1/4 lengths for her first grade I victory June 13 at Belmont Park.
Owned by Mercedes Stable and trained by Tony Dutrow, Seattle Smooth won her fifth consecutive race--all coming in stakes--under a patient ride from jockey Ramon Dominguez. The 4-year-old daughter of Quiet American defeated a field that included a pair of Godolphin-owned grade I winners in Seventh Street and Music Note, who tired leaving the turn in her first start since the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (gr. I).
Dutrow won his first grade I race since Burning Roma won Belmont's Futurity in 2000.
The tripled entry of Godolphin, which also included Darley's Sea Chanter, was sent off at odds of 1-5 in a field that included five betting interests. The final time for the 1 1/16-mile one-turn test for fillies and mares was 1:42.13 over a main track listed as 'good.'
Seattle Smooth saved ground to the quarter pole, where she was angled out four paths by Dominguez to rally while splitting rivals. Seventh Street won a pace duel with the stubborn My Dinah, who battled the Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) winner through fractions of :23.45, :46.36 and 1:09.96 to take command in the stretch.
But the winning bay filly closed the gap quickly and drew even with Seventh Street, ridden by Rajiv Maragh, inside the final furlong. Seatte Smooth was able to edge away in the last sixteenth under right-handed urging from Dominguez.
Dutrow said Saratoga's $300,000 Go for Wand (gr. I) at nine furlongs on Aug. 2 is the next target for Seattle Smooth.
“I do think Seattle Smooth is a very good two-turn filly," he said. "She was good today – she had to be – but I like her at two turns. I know she loves Saratoga. We’ve had her there, trained her there, so I have to be looking forward to the two-turn Saratoga deal. We’re so overwhelmed, so humbled and proud of her – I hope everyone in racing gets to experience what we just experienced. These types of races are so elusive.”
Sea Chanter, with John Velazquez aboard, finished a willing third, 2 1/4 lengths behind Seventh Street. My Dinah was fourth.
Music Note, who won three grade I races in New York as a 3-year-old last year, made a bold move entering the turn, moving in tandem with Sea Chanter to engage the leaders. But Music Note came under pressure from Javier Castellano leaving the sweeping turn and fell back in the stretch to eventually finish fifth. Color Me Up and Nicksappealinglady, who stumbled at the start, trailed.
“The race unfolded very well for us," Dutrow said. "Immediately, we were in a great situation. Our situation brightened at the quarter pole when they all went, and the last sixteenth of a mile, Seattle Smooth finished up."
Seattle Smooth, coming off a three-quarters of a length win as the 1-5 choice in the one-mile Shuvee Handicap (gr. II) May 16, earned her seventh victory in 13 lifetime starts. She began her year with a 5 3/4-length romp in Aqueduct's Bed o' Roses Handicap (gr. II) April 18. The winning Ogden Phipps purse of $180,000 increased Seattle's Smooth's career total to $971,160.
Bred in Kentucky by Dr. Oscar Benavides and Darley, Seattle Smooth is out of the Seattle Song mare Our Seattle Star. She was a $340,000 sale at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky in July 2006.
Sent off as the second betting choice, Seattle Smooth carried 121 pounds and paid $6.20 and $2.30. The entry returned $2.10. There was no show wagering. The $2 exacta was worth $9.60.