ELMONT, NY – By the narrowest of margins, Frank Fletcher homebred Frank’s Rockette out-bobbed Reagan’s Edge to win Saturday’s $100,000 Victory Ride Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park.
Sent from the rail as the 2/5 heavy favorite under John Velazquez, Frank’s Rockette remained tucked inside while Reagan’s Edge went to the early lead. Frank’s Rockette soon poked her head in front entering the far turn as Center Aisle raced three-wide on the outside.
After posting tepid opening fractions of :23.11 and :45.52, Frank’s Rockette turned on the boosters at the top of the stretch, initially pulling away from the other front-runners, but she began to show signs of slowing near the 1/8 pole and was soon put to a drive.
Reagan’s Edge and Center Aisle swarmed up in mid-stretch and Reagan’s Edge posed a dangerous threat inside the 1/16 pole, but Frank’s Rockette dug deep to withstand her foe by a head at the wire.
The Bill Mott trainee completed the 6 1/2-furlong fast main track sprint in a final time of 1:14.47 – just 0.01 seconds slower than the track record shared by Bear Fan (set in 2004) and Super Shape (matched in 2009).
“She broke well enough, but not as quick as I thought she would,” Velazquez said. “Little by little, she got into the battle and I let her do what she wanted to do. At the end, she put in a really good fight. At the wire, I thought I had it, but right before the wire, I wasn’t sure we were going to hold on.”
Though unable to catch the top pair in the final jumps, Center Aisle was just 3/4 of a length behind in third. Up In Smoke and Miss Peppina completed the order of finish.
Frank’s Rockette’s win was her second straight and also her second at the stakes level, having won February’s Any Limit Stakes at Gulfstream Park. The 3-year-old Into Mischief filly increased her earnings to $413,603 and improved her record to 8-4-4-0, a mark that includes finishing second in last year’s Frizette Stakes (G1), the Spinaway Stakes (G1), and the Adirondack Stakes (G2).
“When you looked at the race on paper, it looked like we’d be the clear speed and probably be a length or 2 in front on the backside,” Mott said. “There was a horse hanging right with her. She didn’t break quite as sharp as I’ve seen her in the past, but she was able to open up a bit when she turned for home and had enough courage to hold them off. She had to work at it a little bit. It was not an easy win.”
Frank’s Rockette returned $2.90 to win and $2.20 to place, while Reagan’s Edge paid $6.60 to place. There was no show betting.