We had an exciting weekend of racing with several big names coming back to the track. Several top horses took to the track this weekend to show us they still have it.
$288,000 Delaware Oaks (G3)
It may have been the comeback of the season when JAYWALK took to the track in the $288,000 Delaware Oaks (G3). Unraced since the Kentucky Oaks, in which she was disqualified, JAYWALK broke quickly and went straight to the lead. Moving comfortably off the inside, she set fractions of :24.12, :47.77 and 1:10.72 with a 3 ½ length lead. FASHION FAUX PAS challenged late, but JAYWALK shrugged her off and took the win with a final time of 1:43.21. UJJAYI finished third four lengths back.
$245,000 Dwyer Stakes (G3)
MAJID and WHISKEY ECHO battled for the lead after the start setting fast opening fractions of :23.83 and :47.95. CODE OF HONOR sat last in the field of six. FINAL JEOPARDY made a bid for the lead while CODE OF HONOR worked his way to the front of the pack.
In the stretch, jockey John Velazquez dropped his whip, but put CODE OF HONOR on the path and made his move. Surging to the lead at the eighth pole, he drew clear to win the mile race in 1:35.81. ROWAYTON finished third.
$1 Million Belmont Derby
It was a field of fourteen three-year-olds on the grass for the $1 million Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes (G1T), the first leg of the NYRA's new Turf Trinity.
MOON COLONY and BLENHEIM PALACE fought for the early lead setting fractions of :23.31 and :47.80. HENLEY'S JOY, sent off at 20-1, sat on the rail about two lengths back in third. As the leaders tired at the quarter pole, HENLEY'S JOY went to the front. SOCIAL PARANOIA surged a length at the eighth pole, but HENLEY'S JOY pushed on in the final furlong and took the victory by three quarters of a length.
The chestnut colt triggered an $8,901 trifecta payout for $2. The next race in the Turf Trinity series is the $1 million Saratoga Derby at Saratoga Race Course on August 4th and the series ends with the $1 million Jockey Club Derby back at Belmont on September 7th. HENLEY'S JOY is a go for the second leg, says trainer Jeffrey Bloom who was happy to see the horse finally work things out to get a win after a series of rough starts.
SOCIAL PARANOIA finished second by a half-length over ROCKEMPEROR.
$750,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes (G1T)
JODIE, the Japanese import, took the lead at the break in the 1 1/4 mile turf test. The filly set fractions of :24.29, :49.16 and 1:14.14 through six furlongs. CONCRETE ROSE staked her in second just off the rail. NEWSPAPEROFRECORD broke wildly from the inside and tipped out into the two path, forcing CAFE AMERICANO to move out eight wide, which resulted in CORAL BEACH and JUST WONDERFUL to check in the backstretch. JUST WONDERFUL struck the gate at the break as well.
NEWSPAPEROFRECORD tucked in toward the rail and moved up to three wide on the outside and tried to challenge the leaders, but lost steam. CONCRETE ROSE to command a furlong from the wire and kicked home to finish 2 3/4 lengths ahead with a final time of 1:59.97. JUST WONDERFUL rallied late for the photo finish to take second with CAMBIER PARC following in third. NEWSPAPEROFRECORD was eased in the stretch and finished last.