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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.”
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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.
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