Intoday’s Thoroughbred Daily News:

Check the Label drives late to Garden City triumph

CheckTheLabelGardenCity2010AC298Coglianese photos

Check the Label took command inside the eighth pole and powered to a three-quarter-length victory in the $240,000 Garden City Stakes (G1) on Saturday at Belmont Park.

Trained by Graham Motion for Roy and Gretchen Jackson’s Lael Stables, the three year-old Stormin Fever filly secured her fourth consecutive graded stakes triumph and first at the highest level despite closing from last in the field of seven on turf that was softer than she is accustomed to racing upon.

“I have a lot of confidence in this filly,” Motion said. “I thought she would handle the going; she’s handled just about everything thrown at her.”


Check the Label was winless in her first three starts of the season, all at Gulfstream Park, with a second- and a third-place finish before finding her winning stride. She is unbeaten in four attempts since April 15.

“She’s got such a tremendous turn of foot she can get herself out of almost any situation,” Motion said. “That’s part of what makes her special. The Jacksons and I will discuss what’s next for her. We’ll look at the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup [Stakes (G1) on October 16at Keeneland Race Course].” 

Queen of the Creek jumped out to the early lead in the 11⁄8-mile turf race, taking the field through a half-mile in :47.80 and six furlongs in 1:13.11. Check the Label, under a firm hold by jockey Ramon Dominguez, raced at the back of the field of seven.

Swinging out wide on the turn, Dominguez asked Check the Label for more and she responded enthusiastically, avoiding traffic entering the stretch and moving outside in the lane to find room for her final drive, covering the 11⁄8 miles in 1:51.41 on turf rated as yielding.

“On soft ground like this, it’s very difficult to make up that kind of ground and she just overcame all the trouble,” Dominguez said. “She showed that she’s a nice filly.

“She gave me a great kick—really, it’s hard to appreciate how much I had to take away from her. For any horse, it would have been a perfect excuse not to finish up after that because of all the run that I took away from her, but she was there for me.”

Grade 3 winner Snow Top Mountain also closed gamely to finish second, one length in front of Gitchee Goomie. Grade 1 winner and 2009 Canadian champion two-year-old filly Negligee pressed the pace through a half-mile but faltered late, finishing sixth.

Check the Label has won six of 13 starts and has seconds and one third and $491,227 in earnings in two seasons of racing. Bred in Kentucky by Brereton Jones, she is one of two winners from three starters out of the unraced Mazel Trick mare Don’t Trick Her.—Steve Bailey

After all the excitement at Belmont we mustn’t forget first time starter Lucky Strikes Gold winning her first race at Presque Isle Downs last night.  The home bred filly by Smart Strike out of the Graded Stakes winner Alice Springs raced quite professionally as she had to endure a dual to the wire.  Congratulations to Augustin Stable.{jcomments on}

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