(from Belmont Park report)
Leading every step for 2 1/2 miles, 21-1 shot Red Letter Day held off the late charge from Dynaski to score his first stakes victory in the $157,600 Lonesome Glory Hurdle Stakes (NSA-I) (VIDEO) Sept. 20 at Belmont Park.
Trained by newly enshrined National Racing Hall of Fame member Janet Elliot, the 6-year-old gelded some of Red Ransom went straight to the front at the drop of the flag, and put in big efforts over the final two fences to hold off the favorite and win by three-quarters of a length.
His winning time for the race, in which he finished third last year, was 4:47.60 over firm turf.
"I asked for two big ones over the second-to-last and last jumps, and he gave them to me," said jockey Bernard Dalton. "They were going to have to come hard and fast to get him."
Red Letter Day returned $44.60 in winning the third race of his 23-race career. He broke his maiden at Charlotte in 2007, and last year won an optional claimer over fences at Philadelphia Park in July. The winner's purse of $94,560 nearly doubled his earnings to $200,780.
"The hardest part is getting races long enough for him," said Elliot, who trains Red Letter Day for Gregory Hawkins. "I knew this race was coming up, and he had run well in it last year [third]."
Dynaski, who had been first or second in six previous starts over fences, was 1 1/2 lengths in front of Arcadius. Completing the order of finish were Spy in the Sky, Isti Bee, Sermon of Love and second choice Mixed Up, who tired after pressing the winner for two miles. Pierrot Lunaire and Tax Ruling were scratched.