Belmont Park hosted a series of weekend stakes races honoring several greats in horse racing over the years. Here's a look at the results.
$200,000 Vagrancy Handicap (G3)
HEAVENHASMYNIKKI broke from the gates and went straight to the lead ahead of the favorite, SEPARATIONOFPOWERS, setting fast fractions of :22.58, :45:21 and 1:08.65. PACIFIC GALE moved up the rail and overtook SEPARATIONOFPOWERS for second, switching to the outside to put the pressure on HEAVENHASMYNIKKI. But HEAVENHASMYNIKKI held on to the lead to win by a neck, completing the 6 1/2 furlong race with a time of 1:14.99. SEPARATIONOFPOWERS finished third.
This was the first graded stakes win for the filly against open company. It was also the first Belmont Park stakes win for trainer Robert Hess Jr. The filly won her first two starts and earned her way into the Kentucky Oaks, running fourth in the Forward Gal Stakes (G3) and third in the Davona Dale Stakes (G2). She placed ninth in the Oaks.
$300,000 Peter Pan Stakes (G3)
GLOBAL CAMPAIGN set the pace with opening fractions of :23.19 and :46, slightly faster than trainer Stanley Hough would have liked, stating "We didn't want to up in a duel, but it looked like he did it pretty comfortably."
Heading into the turn, GLOBAL CAMPAIGN received his cue from jockey Luis Saez and the colt took over, widening the distance. Closing from the back, SIR WINSTON came up strong for a late duel, but could not catch him in time. After a stumble at the start, INTREPID HEART managed to finish third at 4 3/4 lengths back.
GLOBAL CAMPAIGN was fresh off a break after grabbing a quarter and a fifth-place finish in the Fountain of Youth Stakes.
$200,000 BEAUGAY STAKES (G3T)
At the start, newcomer for Chad Brown and Peter Brant, HOMERIQUE broke last from the gates and sat just off the pace, which was set by CHIPOLATA setting easy fractions of :26.87 and :52.86. The slow pace allowed MATTY'S MAGNUM and COMPETITIONOFIDEAS to stalk her through the backstretch.
CHIPOLATA maintained her composure and dug in to widen her margin at the turn for home. HOMERIQUE was asked for more by Irad Ortiz Jr. and she responded by driving down the center of the field to challenge the tiring CHIPOLATA. COMPETITIONOFIDEAS surged for second while CHIPOLATA held on for third.
$150,000 Runhappy Stakes
FIRENZE FIRE made an impressive victory in the six furlong Runhappy Stakes for trainer Jason Service. Already a Grade 1 millionaire, the 4-year-old is now three for three at Belmont.
At the start, KILLYBEGS CAPTAIN went to the front and set the pace with fractions of :22.44 and :45.05. RECRUITING READY kept in close pursuit for the first half-mile. FIRENZE FIRE wasted no time putting those two behind him as closed from third and crossed the wire in 1:08.12 under Irad Ortiz Jr. RECRUITING READY held on for second 4 3/4 lengths behind and BON RAISON finished in third.
$700,000 Man O'War Stakes (G1T)
HUNTING HORN set the pace for the nine-horse field with a quick :22.98 first quarter. EPICAL followed right behind with CHANNEL MAKER stalking the pacesetters in third. While HUNTING HORN managed to hold his advantage through the first mile, CHANNEL MAKER responded to Joel Rosario and rolled for home around the turn. ARKLOW and MAGIC MAKER also made moves, but were too late to catch CHANNEL MAKER, who completed the 1 3/8ths mile turf race in 2:12.43. ARKLOW held on for second followed by MAGIC WAND.
This was the third graded stakes victory for CHANNEL MAKER and the second Man O'War win for trainer Bill Mott.