ELMONT, N.Y. – Yellow Agate overtook Libby’s Tail in deep stretch, rallying to capture the Grade 1, $400,000 Frizette, a “Win and You’re in” Breeders’ Cup challenge, in the first of six graded stakes on Super Saturday at Belmont Park.
China Horse Club’s Yellow Agate won by a head in her stakes debut to earn an all-fees-paid trip to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in November at Santa Anita Park. Trained by Christophe Clement, she improved to 2-for-2 in her career.
Libby’s Tail, for trainer Rudy Rodriguez, set brisk early fractions of 22.86, 45.69 and 1:10.75 in maintaining the edge until Yellow Agate wore her down in the final sixteenth before hitting the wire in 1:35.82 in the mile course on the main track.
Jockey Manny Franco, who registered his first career Grade 1 win in last week’s Vosburgh, picked up another as Yellow Agate improved her career earnings to $285,000. Off as the 6-5 favorite, she paid $4.70 on a $2 win wager.
“I think today was a major jump going from a maiden win to a Grade 1 win,” Clement said. “It was a great ride by Manny. He never panicked and came from off the pace. The filly was comfortable, he waited and took her wide giving her a chance. She then went to take on that horse on the lead. I think it was a very mature ride from Manny.”
Yellow Agate, who broke her maiden September 11 at Belmont, came back from fifth at the half-mile mark, ran down Colorful Charades out of the turn and made a late push on the fast track. No entries in the six-horse field had run a race longer than 6 ½ furlongs entering the day.
“At the quarter pole, she didn’t switch leads, so I worked on her and she gave me that second reaction,” Franco said. “I wanted her to break good and I wanted to settle her down, because I knew she was going from short to long today. I just wanted her to relax and be comfortable and I made my move at the right time.”
Libby’s Tail, who came in fourth last out in the Grade 2 Adirondack, posted her best career finish in a stakes start.
Colorful Charades, off at 23-1, broke well under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez and finished third in her second career start and stakes debut.
Nonna Mela, Sky Gesture and Star Super completed the order of finish.