Three winners on Saturday’s Belmont Stakes Day card earned automatic berths in this year’s Breeders’ Cup with victories in “Win and You’re In” races, qualifying for the two day event which will be held at Del Mar on Nov 5 and 6.
Casa Creed won the $400,000 Jackpocket Jaipur (G1) with a good late rally to pull off the upset, returning $23.60 to win. He earned an all expenses paid trip to the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1).
Letruska took the field gate to wire to win the $500,000 Ogden Phipps (G1) and stamped her ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1). And Silver State upset the field in the $1 million Metropolitan Mile Handicap (G1), returning his backers $13.40 and earned a starting berth in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
Casa Creed Takes Jaipur
Propelled by a devastating turn of foot on the inner turf course at Belmont Park, Casa Creed swept by the field in the stretch of Saturday’s Grade 1, $400,000 Jackpocket Jaipur for 3-year-olds and up to win by two lengths in the six-furlong dash.
Formerly a Grade 1-placed route runner, the Bill Mott-trained Casa Creed has taken his game to even greater heights since turning back in distance in the seven-furlong Elusive Quality at Belmont last out in his first start around one turn on turf. Despite getting very little pace to attack in the Elusive Quality, the son of Jimmy Creed closed strongly to prevail by a head over a talented bunch of sprinters, marking his first victory since the 2019 edition of the Grade 2 Hall of Fame at Saratoga Race Course.
Although the dynamics of the Jaipur figured to be similar to the Elusive Quality, the race featured an honest pace set by even-money favorite Bound for Nowhere, who went out to lead the field through splits of 22.06 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 44.65 for the half as he was hounded by both California shipper Gregorian Chant and Sombeyay.
The leading triumvirate continued their three-ply battle for the lead around the far turn before Bound for Nowhere edged away from his pace combatants at the top of the stretch. But once angled into the clear by jockey Junior Alvarado, Casa Creed came rolling home to inhale the favorite and put plenty of distance between himself and his stablemate Chewing Gum, who closed belatedly to get second. The bay horse stopped the clock in 1:08.04 on a firm course.
Jaipur Stakes Replay
“I missed the break a little,” said Alvarado. “I got worried right away because when sprinting the last thing you want to do is break slow. The first sixteenth of a mile, I was last and he was going so fast. I was thinking that they had to be going pretty quick up front. He started picking it up little by little and still going so fast. As soon as I turned for home and put him in the clear, I asked him a bit and then he pulled the reins out of my hands. It was a beautiful run from the three-sixteenths to the wire.
“He’s versatile,” Alvarado added. “He’s been unlucky with races, but he’s always been hard knocking. He gets beat, but gets beat trying against really nice horses. We started figuring it out these past couple of races. He showed today that he’s a serious sprinter.”
Casa Creed returned $23.60 on a $2 win wager and increased his career earnings to $755,408. A Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ event, the Jaipur guarantees Casa Creed an all-expenses paid trip to the Grade 1 Turf Sprint at Del Mar in November, in which his sprint abilities could be put to the test again as he will be forced to cut back in distance even further for the five-furlong dash.
Letruska Wires Field in Ogden Phipps
Letruska, an undefeated champion in Mexico, proved once again that she can star on both sides of the border with a dominant, gate-to-wire win in Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Ogden Phipps at Belmont Park.
With the victory, which was her second straight in Grade 1 company against fillies and mares, she guaranteed her starting gate spot in the Breeders’ Cup Longines Distaff as the Phipps is a “Win and You’re In” qualifying event for the race at Del Mar on November 6.
A St. George Stable homebred trained by Fausto Gutierrez, the 5-year-old daughter of Super Saver went to the lead right out of the gate, led the four others in the field up the backstretch while setting fractions of :23.49 and :46.76 for the half-mile and then opened up on them as they raced around the far turn.
Letruska clicked off the next split in a blistering 1:10.26 and drew off through the lane before romping home in 1:41.25 for the 1 1/16-miles test for older fillies and mares on the fast main track.
A pair of Brad Cox trainees, Bonny South, with Joel Rosario up, and 2020 Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks-winner and 2021 Grade 1 La Troienne-victress Shedaresthedevil, piloted by Florent Geroux, wound up second by 2 3/4-lengths and third by another 1 1/4-lengths, respectively.
Ogden Phipps Replay
Queen Nekia and Water White completed the order of finish. Swiss Skydiver and Valiance were scratched.
Jose Ortiz, who picked up the mount from injured brother Irad Ortiz, Jr, said Letruska would not be denied the lead.
“She was breaking a little bit slow, but she broke good today. I was able to put her on the lead and make the other horses chase me,” said Ortiz. “Florent, if he wanted to beat me, he had to run with me. She couldn’t keep up with me by the three-eighths pole. When I looked back and saw her three lengths behind me, I was very happy. It was very impressive. She’s a very nice mare.”
Silver State in Met Mile Upset
Winchell Thoroughbreds and Willis Horton Racing’s Silver State, expertly handled by Ricardo Santana, Jr. for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, extended his win streak to six with a powerful run up the rail to capture Saturday’s Grade 1, $1 million Hill ‘N’ Dale Metropolitan, a one-turn mile for 3-year-olds and up at Belmont Park.
The 128th renewal of the Met Mile was one of three Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” events on the Belmont Stakes Day card featuring nine graded stakes, including eight Grade 1s, capped by the 153rd running of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets, the 1 1/2-mile final leg of the Triple Crown.
“I’m very proud of Silver State, the whole team, and the trip Ricardo gave him and the faith he has in the horse. The Met Mile is an extremely significant win and one of the great races in American racing,” said Asmussen. “This is six wins in a row for him. He’s an absolutely beautiful Stonestreet bred that Ron Winchell and Mr. Horton purchased and have campaigned. Their patience in allowing him to get to this level has been perfect.”
The 4-year-old Hard Spun colt launched his streak last fall in Kentucky with allowance wins at Keeneland and Churchill Downs and continued through a pair of listed stakes wins at Oaklawn Park before making the grade last out in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap on April 17.
Out of the stakes-winning Empire Maker mare Supreme, Silver State, a $450,000 purchase at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, improved his record to 7-2-1 from 11 starts. His bankroll swelled to $1,765,094 with the $535,000 winner’s share.
Met Mile Replay
Knicks Go, the reigning Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner, led the six-horse field through an opening quarter-mile in 23.36 seconds on the fast main track as Mischevious Alex, who broke outward into Dr Post from his inside draw, straightened course before angling off the rail and in-between Silver State and Lexitonian to track from second.
The Joel Rosario-piloted Knicks Go reached the half-mile in 46.31 as Mischevious Alex continued to stalk with Silver State enjoying a comfortable ground-saving trip in third.
Knicks Go held a precarious lead late in the turn, drifting out at the quarter-pole as Mischevious Alex dialed up the pressure to the outside, leaving the rail open for Silver State, who took the opening and ran home a one-length winner in a final time of 1:35.45.
By My Standards, patiently piloted by Gabriel Saez, closed down the middle of the track to complete the exacta by three-quarters of a length over Mischevious Alex. Knicks Go, Dr Post and Lexitonian rounded out the order of finish.