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Change of Control Kicks Off Belmont Stakes Racing Festival Action with Intercontinental Victory
Credit: NYRA / Chelsea Durand

Change of Control Kicks Off Belmont Stakes Racing Festival Action with Intercontinental Victory

ELMONT, NY – Perry Harrison’s Change of Control’s stellar 5-year-old campaign was bolstered by another stakes win as the Fed Biz mare overtook pacesetter I’llhandalthecash when straightened for home and outkicked Piedi Bianchi by 1 1/2 lengths in Friday’s $200,000 Intercontinental (G3) for fillies and mares 4 years old and up going 7 furlongs on the Belmont Park Widener turf.

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I’llhandalthecash was sent to the front from the outerpost under Luis Saez, leading the five-horse field through an opening 1/4-mile in 23.64 seconds and the 1/2 in 46.82 on turf labeled good.

Change of Control, under rider Colby Hernandez, tracked in third position and had to steady nearing the top of the stretch. Exiting the turn, a patient Hernandez tipped out his charge, found a seam, and Change of Control pressed on, taking command from the outside. Piedi Bianchi was game to the wire, but Change of Control completed the course in 1:22.07 to secure the victory.

The win was the first career graded stakes victory for Hernandez, who started riding in 2006 and has amassed more than 2,200 career wins before getting his picture taken on Thursday.

“It’s my first graded stakes win and my first time riding here,” Hernandez said. “It’s an awesome feeling.”

Change of Control earned black type for the fifth time in 2021 and notched a stakes win for the second time in her last 3 races, adding to her score in the Giant’s Causeway in April at Keeneland before running second in the Unbridled Sidney later that month at Churchill Downs. She is 2-2-2 in 6 starts this year.

“When she broke, she broke sharply,” Hernandez said. “She left there well, and I had to get on her a little bit. After that, I was just able to sit on her. All I needed was daylight and she kicked on.”

The Michelle Lovell trainee, off as the 7-5 second choice, returned $4.90 on a $2 win wager. Bred in Kentucky by John O’Mera, Change of Control improved her career earnings to $552,439.

“This mare has been incredibly special to us,” Lovell said. “She tries so hard every time she runs and has been in top form this year. Colby got her into a great spot early and she was able to relax behind the pace. Into the stretch, it looked like Colby had a ton of horse and when she was able to get outside, she really showed her stride late. This is a great win for everyone involved.”

Piedi Bianchi, returning to Belmont after running fourth in the Vagrancy Handicap (G3) in May, finished 1 1/4 lengths clear of French-bred Madeleine Must for second under Manny Franco. Trained by Carlos Martin, Piedi Bianchi is 6-5-5 in 24 career starts.

“The blinkers off helped to get her to relax,” Franco said. “She saved her best energy for the end. She settled pretty well and made a good run.”

I’llhandalthecash and Publication, the 6/5 favorite, completed the order of finish.

“When I asked her to run, she didn’t give it to me today,” said Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, who rode Publication.

Regal Glory and Sweet Bye and Bye, the top two morning line favorites who will run in Saturday’s Just a Game (G1), scratched, as did main-track only entrants Subsidiary and Aunt Kat.

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