ELMONT, NY – I Still Miss You popped out of the gate on top and never relinquished the lead, zipping to a 2 1/4-length victory in the 106th edition of the $150,000 Astoria for 2-year-old fillies at Belmont Park on Thursday, the first day of the three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival presented by NYRA Bets.
Ridden by Javier Castellano, the New York-bred daughter of Majestic Warrior clicked off fractions of :22.19 and :45.60 while prompted from the outside by favored Sugar Queen and Waki Patriot. Sugar Queen dropped out of the battle on the turn, with Best Performance picking up the chase, but I Still Miss You kept rolling and hit the wire in 1:04.85 for the 5 1/2 furlongs.
“It was a big field, and with the inside post, I had to use her speed and she responded,” said Castellano. “We didn’t have a chance to rate; we had to send her because of the position she had. From the outside post, we can ask her to relax a little bit and don’t push her too much. I think you’ll be able to stretch her out. I think she’s a straightforward filly, it’s the first time I rode her. She’ll move forward well.”
It was the second victory in as many starts for I Still Miss You, who broke her maiden in front-running fashion facing state-breds at Belmont on May 11.
“Coming out of that race, she’s done everything right,” said Jeremiah Englehart, who trains I Still Miss You for Gold Star Racing Stable, Matthew Hand, and Brian McKenzie. “She didn’t lose any weight, her blood work remained good, and we thought she would give a similar effort here if she was fast enough, and she proved that today. I thought Javier did a great job with her. I’ve had two great rides from her on Irad (Ortiz, Jr.) the first time and Javier now, and you’re pretty lucky when you’re in that company.”
Sent off at 4-1, I Still Miss You earned $87,000 to extend her bankroll to $124,200.
Waki Patriot finished third, a head behind Best Performance, with Sugar Queen another 10 3/4 lengths back in fourth. Di Maria, One Last Cast, Contrarity, and Zodacious completed the order of finish.
I Still Miss You returned $10.80, $6.30, and $4.30. Best Performance brought back $3.80 and $2.80, while Waki Patriot paid $3.70 to show.