Crown Queen wins her fourth in a row; takes the QEII Challenge Cup
Crown Queen has turned into one of the top filly turf runners in the country and Saturday she added the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup to her growing resume. Crown Queen (BetPTC.com 2nd Selection) made it four straight wins, with this one being the biggest of her career. She sat back early on in fourth as Sea Queen went out to set the pace over the soft turf, getting to a half mile in 48.80 seconds. Sea Queen arrived at the top of the lane surrounded and it was Crown Queen and Ball Dancing (BetPTC.com Top Selection) who were coming after her. Those two went to the front and battled the rest of the stretch, but Crown Queen and John Velazquez had a little more left in the tank and edged away to win by three quarters of a length. Sistas Stroll closed in to finish in third. Crown Queen had previously won the Lake Placid Stakes and has marked herself a contender for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf.
Legendary wins a soggy running of the Knickerbocker Stakes
The rain was present and the turf was yielding, but that didn’t stop Legendary from splashing through the grass to win the $200,000 Grade 3 Knickerbocker Stakes at Belmont Park on Saturday. Sent off at odds of 4/1 in a scratch laden field of six, Legendary sat a nice trip back in third early on as Plainview went out to set the early pace. Plainview went quick to establish the lead but was able to get a bit of a breather down the backstretch getting to a half mile in 49.07 seconds. Sheldon Russell made a decisiving move at the quarter pole with Legendary and they swept to the lead and quickly opened up three lengths by mid-stretch. Favored Up With the Birds (BetPTC.com Top Selection) gave up a lot of ground to the leaders early and came with his run late, but he ran out of real estate as Legendary held on to win by a length and a quarter. Up With the Birds was second while Msawish (BetPTC.com 3rd Selection) got up to finish in third.
Velvet Mesquite goes all the way to win the California Distaff
Velvet Mesquite went right to the front and never looked back as she won a hard fought edition of the California Distaff. Sent off as the slight 5/2 favorite, Velvet Mesquite (BetPTC.com Top Selection) wasted no time going right to the lead as they flew down the hill, getting through a quarter in 22.17 seconds and a half mile in 44.16 seconds. As they came into the lane Go West Marie (BetPTC.com 3rd Selection) came up and got to within a head of Velvet Mesquite. But Velvet Mesquite and Smith still had some gas left and turned away that challenge, eventually inching away to win by half a length over a late closing Heat Trap. Go West Marie finished in third.
Plain Ol’ Willard pulls a shocker in the Best of Ohio
The Best of Ohio Endurance was a $150,000 event that was a true distance test, going a mile and a quarter. And at the end of those ten furlongs it was Plain Ol Willard who pulled a 16/1 upset, scoring by over three lengths. Plain Ol Willard was the last of fourteen early on as Dubacious and Stormin Larry set a very quick pace for a race of this distance, getting to a half mile in a steamy 46.67 seconds. Jac’s Fact seized the lead as the field turned for home and looked like he might have a shot to slip away, but Plain Ol Willard and Noel Vigil rolled on by during the last furlong to win by three and a half lengths. Jac’s Fact held on to second by a neck over John Galt who completed a trifecta that paid $13,427 for every $2.