Princess of Sylmar second in Ogden Phipps Stakes at Belmont
ELMONT, N.Y. - Princess of Sylmar, the Kentucky Oaks-winning filly owned by West Chester's Ed Stanco, lost by a head in a stirring stretch duel that ended with Close Hatches winning the $1 million Ogden Phipps Stakes on Saturday.
Last after a quick half-mile of 45 seconds, Princess of Sylmar moved up and halfway through the long stretch was battling furiously with archrival Beholder, Antipathy, and the eventual winner. After a side-by-side duel through the final furlong of the 11/16-mile event, the 4-year-old lost by a head bob. Antipathy was third and the favored Beholder fourth.
Princess of Sylmar had won her first start this year, at Aqueduct in April. She ended a spectacular 3-year-old season, in which she won six times, with a poor performance in November's Breeders' Cup Distaff.
"My filly certainly ran her tail off today," said her trainer, Todd Pletcher. "It was just a tough beat."
An early rise
At 9:30 a.m., nearly 61/2 hours before his horse chased history, California Chrome co-owner Steve Coburn stuck his head out of a Belmont Park owner's box to savor the postcard morning.
Below, spectators who already filled the finish-line benches and standing area spotted the good-natured, mustachioed horseman and began wildly cheering, then chanting his horse's name.
Coburn waved like a pope from the St. Peter's Square balcony, pumped his fist a few times, and retreated.
The New York Racing Authority boast that Saturday would be the state's greatest day of racing ever was certainly true if purses were the gauge.
The total purse for the 13-race card topped $8 million, the most offered anywhere except the final day of the Breeders' Cup. There were 10 stakes, six of them Grade I, including the Belmont.