The trip was a mess, and Separationofpowers was a mess.
She stumbled out of the gate on July 8, almost dropping her nose into the dirt, then kicked herself and got scratched up in the Victory Ride at Belmont Park.
Trainer Chad Brown said he wasn’t sure he was going to be able to get her fully patched up and recovered in time for Saturday’s Grade I Test, but Separationofpowers got it together and got out of the gate without a hitch to set herself up for a thrilling late-closing victory by a neck over front-runner Mia Mischief.
“She broke clean today and she had a huge chance to win the race, and she did,” jockey Jose Ortiz said. “I tried to keep her clean, have a clean trip in the turn. I went a little bit wider than I wanted to, but I didn’t get in trouble because she had a good spot.”
“This filly was injured after her run in the Breeders’ Cup last year and had been going under a lot of rehab and patience to bring her back,” Brown said. “To bring her back to her race at Belmont and to have her stumble so bad out of the gate, she came back a little banged up.
“Then she came around a couple weeks later, started breezing again, got to geel her health again, and we came back with a beautiful clean break and a good run.”
Mia Mischief and jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. took control just before the turn, then were engaged by Separationofpowers at the eighth pole.
They battled and bumped each other until the sixteenth pole, but Mia Mischief didn’t quite have enough to hang on.
“The best horse beat me; nothing more that I could do,” Santana said.
“She got beat by a Grade I winner, and, obviously, we’d like the outcome to be about a neck different, but we’re very proud of the filly,” Mia Mischief’s trainer Steve Asmussen said.
Separationofpowers became a Grade I winner as a 2-year-old last year when she won the Frizette at Belmont after a third in the Spinaway at Saratoga. She went on to run fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.
Because of 2.3 inches of rain overnight, the New York Racing Association canceled the 10th and 11th races on the card, the Grade III Waya on the inner turf and the Lure on the Mellon turf course.
The Lure has been rescheduled for next Saturday’s card, and the Waya has been rescheduled for Sunday, Aug. 11.
As a result of the cancellations, New York State Gaming Commission rules required that NYRA cancel some multi-race wagers, including the NYRA Bets Late Pick 5, Grand Slam and Late Pick 4.
The only race that remained on the turf was the $100,000 De La Rose, which ran as the fifth race and was the second leg of the Pick 6.
The De La Rose proved to be an all-Chad Brown exacta, as the trainer’s Uni, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., caught stablemate Precieuse (Javier Castellano) in the final stride to win by a head.
Uni banged into the right side of the starting gate, but Ortiz gave her a chance to recover to set up her closing kick down the middle of the stretch.
“She hit the door pretty good in the first part of the race, so I let her settle and then come running on in the end,” Ortiz said.
“Both horses ran great,” Brown said. “No surprises. They both were training super, and I was confident they would handle the soft ground. Uni handled it a little better today.”
It was Uni’s sixth start in North America since coming from France in May of last year. Precieuse had been running in France the last two years and was making her first start since a seventh in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes in England over a year ago.
“She had to go two turns, and usually European horses are running straight,” Castellano said. “This time, she had to turn and got a little confused, but I could tell in the last part of the race, she started switching leads. I think she’s going to be one of the best fillies in the country. I think she’s going to be real good in the long term.”
PATCH IS BACK
Fan favorite Patch, the one-eyed colt who was 14th in the Kentucky Derby and third in the Belmont last year, will make the third start of his 2018 season in the $100,000 Alydar on Sunday.
He won an allowance at Belmont in May and is coming off a seventh-place finish in the Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs.
The five-horse field also includes his stablemate Outplay, who won the Curlin last year, and 7-5 morning-line favorite Timeline, who was fifth in the Haskell last year.
The other stakes on the card is the Grade III Troy, a turf sprint that has drawn two-time Jaipur winner Disco Partner. He was third by half a length in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.
AROUND THE TRACK
Asmussen said there is no timetable on when multiple Grade I winner Bolt d’Oro will start breezing, much less racing, for him since the colt came to Asmussen’s barn on July 20.
After finishing 12th in the Kentucky Derby, Bolt d’Oro was last of 10 in the Met Mile, after which owner-trainer Mick Ruis sent him to Asmussen.
“He’s a freakishly impressive horse both physically and mentally,” Asmussen said. “He’s a pleasure to be around, and that’s the understatement of the day. [He will breeze] whenever he is ready.” …
Voodoo Song, who was a remarkable 4-for-4 at the 2017 Saratoga meet, was scheduled to run in the Waya, but would’ve been scratched anyway even if the race hadn’t been canceled.
Trainer Linda Rice said during the week that she didn’t want to run him on soft turf, and would wait for the Fourstardave next Saturday or the West Point on Aug. 24.