ELMONT, NY – John Velazquez tied fellow Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey’s top mark of 660 North American graded stakes victories when he piloted Significant Form to the winner’s circle in Saturday’s $200,000 Noble Damsel Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park.
Scraping the side of post 5 as she broke as the 6/5 favorite, Significant Form recovered ad settled into midpack while Valedictorian set opening fractions of :23.67, :46.78, and 1:10.15. Ranging up within striking distance through the far turn, Significant Form took aim at the pacesetter and unleashed a strong charge.
Taking over in mid-stretch, Significant Form kicked clear before crossing 2 3/4 lengths ahead. The Chad Brown trainee completed the mile-long event over the firm turf course in 1:33.48.
“She was on the outside today and I was worried she was going to be a little bit rank,” Velazquez said. “She actually handled it pretty well. I tried to cover her up a little bit around the turn with (Valedictorian) riding close to the fence. I was kind of reeling in and out of there and I wanted to keep the competition behind him riding there. Right before the 1/4-pole, I just asked her to go, and she ran off. It’s nice to ride these kind of horses. They respond when you ask them and I have to thank Chad for the opportunity. These are the type of horses that keep you coming back to the track.”
Stella di Camelot gave Brown the exacta when she came up willingly to take second by 3 1/2 lengths over Valedictorian. Bellavais, Capla Temptress, and Betty F completed the order of finish.
Significant Form’s win was her second straight following the Ballston Spa Stakes (G2) at Saratoga with Velazquez. The 4-year-old daughter of Creative Cause improved her record to 12-5-1-0 with $804,865 earned for owner Stephanie Brant.
“Once she found that distance, she’s really effective,” said Whit Beckman, assistant to Brown. “She’s had a great year and has come back as a really nice 4-year-old. Once you get her at her optimal distance and get her in her rhythm and a cycle, she shows up for you.”
Significant Form returned $4.60 to win, $2.70 to place, and $2.10 to show. Stella di Camelot brought back $3.10 to place and $2.70 to show, while Valedictorian paid $2.80 to show.