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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Belmont Notes

- Bold Hawk, who won the 4th at Belmont on Sunday, looks like a nice three-year old turf router for Jimmy Toner. With Jean Luc Samyn aboard, Bold Hawk stalked a super slow pace - nearly 26 seconds to run the second quarter. No wonder Samyn was having a hard time reigning him in early. But he settled down and, under very confident handling, cruised to the lead before being asked to run around midstretch. He then strode away powerfully to win by two - final quarter in 22.62!

That's the second win in four starts for this three year old son of the Roberto stallion Silver Hawk, out of Tribulation, a Grade 1 grass stakes winner (the Queen Elizabeth II) by Danzig. Tribulation is also a half-sister to Graceful Darby, who also won that stakes; and to the dam of the Japanese champion Grass Wonder, a G1 winner at a mile and a half, and of Wonder Again, who won the G1 Diana, the NY Handicap at a mile and a quarter, and other stakes for Toner himself.

In the featured Fairway Flyer Stakes, Johnny V. did his best to steal the race on Jade Queen for Pletcher. They set a pace of 24.15, 25.21, and 25.45 to the three-quarters. Then they started picking up the pace - 24.59 to the mile, and then the daughter of Giant's Causeway strode away nicely in the stretch, getting to the eighth pole in 23.28. She looked like a sure winner at this point. But Barancella, even money in his first start since April for Frankel, really took off at the end to get by and draw a length clear in a final furlong of 11.49.

Barancella (Acantenango) is a six-year old mare who has run very sporadically over the years, never having raced more than two races without a layoff line. But she has a lot of back class, having run second in the aforementioned QE II. So if Frankel can hold her together, she's capable of a big effort stepping up to graded stakes.