ELMONT, NY – After racing exclusively in France last year, Peter Brant’s Kentucky-bred filly Homerique returned stateside splendidly, displaying an impressive kick to sweep past her foes in the stretch and win Saturday’s $200,000 Beaugay Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park.
Breaking from post 5 as the 4/5 favorite under Irad Ortiz, Jr., Homerique was content to take back and watch Chipolata and Matty’s Magnum plod up front through opening fractions of :26.87, :52.86, and 1:16.92. Tipped off the rail halfway through the far turn, Homerique showed that she was ready to fire, but there wasn’t enough room yet. Straightening for home, space finally appeared and she shot forward down the middle of the lane.
Homerique’s Chad Brown stablemate Competitionofideas was coming with her own run along the rail, and in mid-stretch, the pair of Brown runners enveloped Chipolata on either side. The pacesetter began to give way steadily, and in the final 1/16 of a mile, they were well-clear. Homerique surged late to beat her stablemate by a 1/2-length at the wire in a final time of 1:44.76 for the 1 1/16-mile event over the firm turf course.
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“For the first time in the country, that was impressive,” said Ortiz, Jr. “She’s a nice filly. She did everything right. There wasn’t too much speed or too much pace in the race, so I knew it probably wouldn’t a problem with her, because even if she doesn’t break that good, she was going to be close to the pace because they’ll go slow. She finishes (strong). I think when she goes a little longer, she’s going to be better.”
Competitionofideas was 2 1/2 lengths clear of Chipolata, who managed to hold onto third by a 1/2-length past Andina Del Sur. Completing the order of finish came a tired Matty’s Magnum and Binti Al Nar, who never found her best footing.
Homerique’s win was her second at the G3 level, having won the Prix de Psyche at Deauville last July, and improved her lifetime record to 7-3-1-2. The 4-year-old daughter of Exchange Rate has now earned $392,950 in her career and will aim for the $600,000 New York Stakes (G2) here on June 7.
“She ran against the best in Europe,” Brant said. “Even when getting in trouble, she was always right there. She’s a classy kind of filly that you want to see run. We were concerned that she might have been one work shy of a race. Chad didn’t want to go into the New York fresh going a mile and 1/4, so he decided to use this race, and she overcame it and won. If she comes out of the race in good order and Chad keeps it in his plan, we’ll be there.”
Homerique returned $3.70 to win, $2.60 to place, and $2.10 to show. Competitionofideas brought back $2.80 to place and $2.10 to show, while Chipolata paid $2.60 to show.