ELMONT, NY – Peter Brant’s Fifty Five added yet another stakes score to her resume when she edged out a game Classic Lady at the wire in Thursday’s thrilling edition of the $100,000 Mount Vernon at Belmont Park.
Sent away as the 1/2 favorite under Javier Castellano, Fifty Five sat back and off the rail, tracking from fifth while within a few lengths of early leader Fetching.
While her Chad Brown stablemate War Canoe and the longshot Kreesie made their bids midway through the turn, Castellano waited until nearing the top of the stretch to tip Fifty Five out and commence a rally.
Off the turn, Fifty Five looked like she would be home free, but Classic Lady and jockey Joel Rosario slipped through an opening on the rail and quickly challenged for the lead. The two mares fought heads apart the length of the stretch, but it was Fifty Five’s nose that hit the wire first.
The bettors’ choice completed the mile-long firm outer turf jaunt for New York-bred females in 1:36.45.
“She knows where the wire is and she makes me look good,” Castellano said. “I’m the pilot and I have to time it right, but with three things against her today – layoff, shorter distance, and slow pace – she should have got beat today, but she’s such a good horse with a good heart. The way she did it today was amazing.”
War Canoe finished third ahead of Munchkin Money, with Kreesie heading Fetching to complete the order of finish. Niko’s Dream was scratched.
Fifty Five’s win came in her 2020 debut and improved her overall record to 23-12-4-5 with $1,088,288 earned. The 6-year-old Get Stormy mare continued her domination of the state-bred female turf scene, having also won the 2019 edition and coming within a neck of taking it in 2018 as well.
“She’s such a great filly the way she does this every time,” Castellano said. “What’s most impressive is that she did it off the layoff, at a shorter distance and no pace – three things against her – and still she did it against good horses. I give all the credit to her and Mr. Brown for a high-level performance. I just enjoyed the ride.”
Fifty Five returned $3 to win, $2.40 to place, and $2.10 to show. Classic Lady brought back $4.70 to place and $2.60 to show, while War Canoe paid $2.40 to show.