Lady Eli: "This horse 'breathes different air' for sure" - trainer Chad BrownPICTURE: NYRA
Top-class Lady Eli rules in Belmont Oaks romp
Report: USA, Saturday
Belmont Park: Belmont Oaks Invitational (Grade 1) 1m2f, turf, 3yo fillies
LADY ELI (Chad Brown/Irad Ortiz) looked a turf filly right out of the top drawer with a dazzling performance as she extended her winning streak to six races in the Belmont Oaks.
Last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies' Turf winner was in a different league as she swept to victory in the $1 million contest, in which the Aidan O'Brien-trained Outstanding was a respectable third.
Having her first run at the 1m2f distance, the daughter of Divine Park raced in mid-division as a pair of outsiders set a strong pace, She moved up four wide on the far turn before taking off in the stretch and drawing away to beat Itsonlyactingdad by two-and-three-quarter lengths.
"As we stretch out our turf horses, you wonder if they're going to lose their turn of foot," said trainer Chad Brown, who has won both runnings of this Grade 1 event.
"The term 'breathes different air' gets thrown around a lot when someone has a very good horse, and I've been lucky to have some great turf fillies and mares, but this one 'breathes different air' for sure.
"Not only the ones I've had in my career but the best horses I have been around, she's way up there, probably at the top of the list. She certainly has the most devastating turn of foot I've ever worked around."
Sent off 4-5 favourite, Lady Eli stopped the clock in a useful 1m59.27s. She is likely to reappear in either the Grade 2 Lake Placid at Saratoga or perhaps take on older fillies and mares for the first time in the Beverly D at Arlington.
The Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Keeneland and the Breeders' Cup offer targets towards the end of the season.
Outstanding also raced in mid-division under Colm O'Donoghue before getting the better of a blanket finish for third.
Also on Saturday
Belmont Park: Belmont Derby Invitational (Grade 1) 1m2f, turf, 3yo
Joel Rosario rode the rail to victory on the impressive Force The Pass (Alan Goldberg), who sat on the fence just behind the pace before cutting the corner and then storming home to score by nearly four lengths in this $1.25m highlight of the Stars & Stripes July 4 card.
Having broken his Graded stakes duck on his previous outing in the Penn Mile, he recorded a time of 2m01.16s in a dominant display at odds of 10-1.
French-trained Canndal took second but Dermot Weld's Postulation proved a disappointment, never a factor as he finished a never-nearer sixth.
Belmont Park: Dwyer Stakes (Grade 3) 1m, dirt, 3yo
After a five-month absence following a foot abscess, Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red stayed on to claim second after a wide route around the turn behind hugely promising Speightster (Bill Mott/Jose Lezcano), now unbeaten in three.
Belmont Park: Suburban Hcap (Grade 2) 1m2f, dirt, 4yo+
Effinex (Jimmy Jerkens/Junior Alvarado) got the better of a head-bobbing finish with odds-on favourite Tonalist, who was giving 6lb to his rival in this $500,000 event.
Belmont Park: Belmont Sprint Championship (Grade 3) 7f, dirt, 3yo+
So easy for three-time Grade 1 winner Private Zone (Jorge Navarro/Martin Pedroza), keen from the gate for an emphatic win by three-and-a-quarter lengths.
Belmont Park: Victory Ride Stakes (Grade 3) 6 1/2f, dirt, 3yo fillies
Irishman Derek Ryan could have a star on his hands in Irish Jasper (Javier Castellano). Outrun early behind a hot pace, she swung wide to win going away from a decent field, completing a hat-trick in the process. The Grade 1 Test Stakes at Saratoga beckons.
Los Alamitos: Los Alamitos Derby (Grade 2) 1m1f, dirt, 3yo
Odds-on favourite Kentuckian was turned over badly, fading after leaving the turn after which Gimme Da Lute (Bob Baffert/Martin Garcia) held off Prospect Park.