The Belmont Stakes proved to be the fascinating race I thought it would be with a deserved winner in Creator, who had been so unlucky in the Derby and showed great courage to wear down Destin in the final few yards to win by a nose.
The form of the Preakness was not really upheld with the best performance from Lani, who finished a 1 ½ length third. There had been doubts about the Preakness winner, Exaggerator, as to whether there would be enough pace, the going and the distance and, indeed, he ran no sort of race, coming in a well-beaten 11th. He pulled too hard early on and maybe this was one race too many for him. Time will tell.
There were some fantastic races on the Belmont Stakes undercard so let’s just have a look at some of the highlights.
The 86th running of the Acorn Stakes a Grade 1 for 3 year old fillies over a mile looked a match-up between Cathryn Sophia, Go Maggie Go and Carina Mia and, here, Carina Mia proved to be the decisive winner. She had been beaten by Kentucky Oaks winner Cathryn Sophia but looked to be on the upgrade following a hugely impressive win in the Eight Belles at Churchill Downs last month.
She was held off the pace by Leparoux early on but had good momentum at the ¾ pole when Cathryn Sophia hit the front and she only needed hand urging to pass the 4/5 favorite and go on to win by 1 ¼ lengths over Off the Tracks as Cathryn Sophia weakened into third.
Carina Mia looks a very talented and versatile filly, capable of wiring a field and coming from off the pace. The Breeders’ Cup beckons!
The second grade 1 of the night, The Ogden Phipps, was won decisively by Cavorting, earning the right to be called the best of the East Coast filly and mare division. There was a strong pace early on and it is notable that the win and place slots were taken by the two horses held off the early pace. Approacing the 6 furlong pole she was in last place but, under a confident ride, she made her challenge 6 wide and breezed past the field to win by an easy 2 ½ lengths.
This looked a hot field but possibly some of the principals like Curalina and Stopchargingmaria got caught up in the early pace and had nothing left at the business end.
The Metropolitan Handicap can be summed up by the phrase: Frosted first, the rest nowhere!
This race looked open and many handicappers thought this could go to an outsider. However, Frosted was blissfully unaware of this. Rosario kept him close to the front from the off before making the move about 2 furlongs out and it was race over with Frosted coming home 14 ¼ lengths clear of the field. Maybe it wasn’t a vintage Met Handicap but 14 ¼ lengths is one long way!
On a night of impressive winners, Flintshire was no exception in the Manhattan. The British-bred, ex-French trained horse had been super consistent at the highest level in France and Britain and was sent off a 7/10 favorite. He was held up in about 6th off a slow pace and had to come five wide when the pace kicked in but showed plenty of guts to take over in the upper stretch and win going away by 1 ¾ lengths.
Sadly, the other Chad Brown runner, Slumber, ran no sort of race and had to be vanned off. However, the news for last year’s winner of the Manhattan appears to be hopeful. The horse has received a cut on his ankle but, initially, it doesn’t appear too serious.