Belmont's Weekend Recap
BELMONT'S WEEKEND RECAP
Uncle T Seven Wins Ashley T. Cole
Patiently ridden by Julien Leparoux, Uncle T Seven kicked clear in the stretch to win Sunday’s 35th running of the $100,000 Ashley T. Cole for New York-breds at Belmont Park.
Settled in fifth behind pacesetter Spa City Fever, who was closely tracked by Writingonthewall through early fractions of 24.69 and 49.18, Uncle T Seven moved off the rail at the three-sixteenths pole and charged up to take the lead. Edging clear in the stretch, he crossed the wire 1 ½ lengths in front of Pocket Cowboys and favored Gimme
Uncle T Seven’s final time for the 1 1/8 miles over the firm turf was 1:49.88.
“[Trainer John Kimmel] told me to make him relax through the first part, and he was pretty relaxed for me all the way around,” said winning jockey Julien Leparoux. “He just traveled on the bridle a little bit, but it was pretty good. At the quarter pole, I was very confident. I knew he was going to give me a kick. It felt great. I knew he was going to run his race and that he was going to run big in the stretch. I didn’t know if anyone was going to be better than him or not, but I guess today, nope.”
The Ashley T. Cole was the Freud colt’s first win in four starts this year. He entered the race off a fourth-place effort in the Vic Ziegel Memorial, a seven-furlong overnight stakes August 27 on the on the Saratoga main track, his first race since a second-place finish in the Kingston Stakes at Belmont on May 30.
“He was off for awhile and he really needed his last race,” said Kimmel, who trains the horse for Thomas Mina, Suzann Bobley, MFRG Racing Stable and Dennis Brida. “It seemed to liven him up and he really sprung forward off that race and looked like his old self today.”
With a lifetime record of 5-3-5 from 18 starts, Uncle T Seven now has earned $386,157 with the winner’s share of the Ashley T. Cole purse. Sent off as the 5-2 third choice in the field of seven, he returned $7.10.
Longshot Piazza Di Spagna was fourth and Spa City Fever, Writingonthewall and Solvent completed the order of finish.
Looking ahead, Kimmel said he would consider two races on New York Showcase Day, October 23, for Uncle T Seven’s next start – either the $100,000 Mohawk at 1 1/8 miles on the turf, or the $200,000 Empire Classic run at the same distance on the main track.
“We’d look at…the Empire Classic if we thought the turf was going to come up soft, which he doesn’t like,” said Kimmel. “He’s a nice, versatile horse.”
by Ashley Herriman
Al Khali Strikes Late in Bowling Green
After providing his connections with a few anxious moments, Al Khali closed with a rush in the waning strides of the 52nd running of the Grade 2, $150,000 Bowling Green Handicap to prevail on opening day of the Fall Championship Meet at Belmont Park.
Al Khali raced in fifth behind cover as pacesetter Strike a Deal ran a half in 49.31 and continued to bide his time while saving ground on the far turn through six furlongs in 1:14.84. Angled off the rail midway on the bend, Al Khali was initially stymied by traffic, but unleashed a strong kick after finding room inside the final furlong to collar odds-on favorite Winchester in the shadow of the wire and score by a neck in a three-horse photo. Simmard was third.
“My horse was the best today,” said Garcia. “[Trainer Bill Mott] said to me, ‘Wherever you’re comfortable, whatever you feel, wherever you want to be, it’s your decision.’ [My horse] was sitting perfectly. He was going slow then he went faster to get me out into a better spot and after that, my horse was the best. [Once I got out], I knew I had a lot of time.”
Al Khali, backed as the 5-2 second choice, returned $7.30 to his backers in the crowd of 7,554 and ran the 1 3/8 miles over the Inner Turf Course in 2:15.23.
The Bowling Green was the second graded stakes victory for Al Khali, who won the Grade 3 Saranac at Saratoga Race Course in 2009. The 4-year-old ridgling has now won two of his past three starts, having captured an optional claimer at Belmont on July 8 and finishing third in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga on August 14.
“I thought we’d be laying second to the horse on the lead [Strike a Deal],” said Mott, who trains Al Khali for Brous Stable and Wachtel Stable. “I said, ‘The horse of Goldberg’s was on the lead in the Dixie and went wire-to-wire, and he’s probably going to lead the race.’ And he went, but then they slowed it down. At the eighth pole, I didn’t think we had any chance, but he came with a good run.”
Al Khali, bred in Kentucky by Emory A. Hamilton, earned $90,000 for his Bowling Green victory, boosting his bankroll to $368,955. The bay son of Medaglia d’Oro has posted a record of 6-2-2 through 17 starts.
Strike a Deal faded to fourth, while Jeune-Turc, Dry Martini, and Followmyfootsteps completed the order of finish. Gabriel’s Hill, Grand Couturier, Interpatation, and Southwest were scratched.
by Jon Forbes
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