ELMONT, NY – Hawksmoor took the lead coming out of the gate and was never threatened as she cruised to a 1-length victory over Quidura to take Friday’s 74th edition of the Grade 2, $500,000 New York presented by NYRA Bets at Belmont Park.
Under a confident ride from Julien Leparoux, the 4-year-old filly set fractions of :49.72 for the opening 1/2-mile over a firm inner turf course, with 3/4 in 1:15.57 and the mile in 1:39.66 as Quidura, Suffused, and Apple Betty gave chase. Once into the lane, with her rivals seemingly set to pounce, Hawksmoor was given the go-ahead by Leparoux and she responded with a rousing late kick that carried her to the wire in 2:01.18 for the 1 1/4-mile trip.
“She had the bit, but she was relaxed,” said Leparoux of Hawksmoor, whom he had ridden to victory last month in the Grade 3 Beaugay over a yielding Belmont turf course. “She can do whatever you want. She proved today that she can go a mile and a 1/4. I think she can go even longer if we need to, so she’s very versatile with distance and how the track is. It was a good group of fillies against her, so it was good to see her be able to compete and beat them.”
The win was the second in four North American starts for the Lael Stable color-bearer, who was third in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup last October at Keeneland in her stateside debut, then sixth in the Grade 2 Mrs. Revere at Churchill Downs the following month.
“Everything set up very well for her,” said winning trainer Arnaud Delacour. “I was a little bit worried about the outside horse (Sassy Little Lila) because she’s a speed horse, but the fact that she scratched probably helped us. We were able to get a comfortable lead and he (Julien) rode a good race.
“I wasn’t surprised when they left her alone out there. I got a little worried when I saw the opening 1/4 because it looked like she was pulling a little bit, but when I saw the time at the 1/2-mile pole, I was very happy. I knew they were going to have to come and get her, and she did good. I don’t really know the filly too well. But obviously, she proved today that she can run with an efficient turn of foot on firm turf, which was the question mark, so we’re very delighted.”
Sent off at 11-1, the multiple Group winner in Europe is now 5-0-5 from 13 career starts, and with the winner’s purse of $275,000, she has now earned $693,739.
Following Quidura under the wire were Kitten’s Roar, Sea Calisi, favored Suffused, Dacita, Apple Betty, and Summersault. Sassy Little Lila was scratched because she is also entered in Saturday’s Grade 1 Just a Game.
Hawksmoor returned $25.40, $11.80, and $8.10. Quidura brought back $6.50 and $4.90, while Kitten’s Roar paid $6.40 to show.