2022 Pilgrim Stakes & Frizette Stakes Recap

Sunday’s Big A Meeting at Aqueduct had three top quality races that headlined the card. Two of these races had huge implications for the Breeders’ Cup with the winners of the Frizette and 2022 Pilgrim Stakes qualifying for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf respectively. 

Also on the card was the Grade 3 Fasing-Tipton Waya. Here is everything that went down on a dramatic day of racing. 

Frizette Stakes

Grade 1, 1 mile, raced on dirt, open to two year old fillies. Total prize pool $400,000. Winner qualifies for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies

  1. Chocolate Gelato +180
  2. You’re My Girl +390
  3. Leave No Trace +790

In wet and sloppy conditions this year’s Frizette was run in less than ideal conditions and turned into a real grind of race. With six exciting fillies heading to post, the money came late for the Todd Pletcher trained Chocolate Gelato. Looking  to build on her win last time out, there were some question marks as to whether she could handle the sloppy conditions.

Looking to make a real race of it, it was the John Terranova trained You’re My Girl who looked to dictate the early fractions. Leading up until the runners turned in for home, jockey Joel Rosario had all of his rivals hard at work. 

Chocolate Gelato’s jockey Irad Ortiz looked to cover off every move from his long time rival. Rounding the home turn, Ortiz made his move and drove Chocolate Gelato to the front. With plenty of horse still underneath him, she was able to keep up the gallop and stretched a few lengths clear of her rivals.

Not to be deterred, You’re My Girl rallied for pressure and started to claw into the lead. Using the rail to guide her home, the line just came in time for Chocolate Gelato who will now take her place in next month’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

The top two were several lengths clear of Leave No Trace who ran a big race to finish 3rd.

2022 Pilgrim Stakes

Grade 2, 1 mile and a sixteenth, raced on turf, open to two year old horses. Total prize pool $200,000. Winner qualifies for Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.

  1. Major Dude +102
  2. I’m Very Busy -133
  3. LaChaise +140

Attentions switched from the dirt to the turf for the second of the Breeders’ Cup Qualifying races, The Pilgrim Stakes. The winner of this year’s Pilgrim would grab a place in the line up for next month’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.

Despite softer than ideal ground conditions, eleven horses trotted down to post for this year’s renewal.

Looking to keep the early pace honest it was the Leah Gyarmati trained Fly Right who led through the first few furlongs. With the rest of the field happy for him to get on with it, the order of the race remained largely unchanged until the field hit the home turn.

With Fly Right struggling to keep his position, he was flanked by Major Dude and the outsider of the field Movisitor. With both looking far fresher than the long time leader, the two quickly surged clear. 

Showing his class, it was Major Dude who kicked further clear and heading down to the furlong pole, he looked to be the one to catch.

Coming out of the pack and having to chart a wide course was the Chad Brown trained I’m Very Busy. Finally getting some clear daylight, I’m Very Busy set off in pursuit of the leader. 

Drawing alongside, it looked like for all the world I’m Very Busy would kick clear and claim victory, however Major Dude and his jockey Irad Ortiz had other plans. 

Clearly relishing the battle, Major Dude found an extra gear and kept on finding for pressure. With the two neck and neck. It wasn’t until the final few hundred metres that Major Dude would poke his head in front and hold on for a superb victory. 

Connections of I’m Very Busy will be left rueing the traffic problems he encountered earlier on in the race as for so long he looked the most likely winner.

The two were streets clear of LaChaise who found a late burst to finish 3rd.

Fasig-Tipton Waya Stakes

Grade 3, 1 mile 3/8, raced on turf, open to horses three and over. Total prize pool $200,000

  1. Rocky Sky +370
  2. Capital Structure +180
  3. Coastana +200

The other big race of the day came in the form of Grade 3 Fasig – Tipton Waya Stakes. Raced on turf, only six horses cantered down to post due to the soft conditions. 

Despite a lack of numbers, the race was still packed with quality and the betting for the race was tight. Leading the betting was the Cherie DeVaux trained Coastana who headed into the contest with the only piece of Graded form following his third place finish in the Flower Bowl Stakes.However she would be left ultimately disappointed as Coastana would only finish in a distant third. 

With Chad Brown having two of the six runners, many believed that both Rocky Sky and Capital Structure had a real chance of claiming victory.

With the outsider of the field Tass pulling the field along, he tamely dropped anchor as the horses rounded the home turn. Looking to take full advantage was Rocky Sky who had been handily placed throughout. Having the first run on the field, jockey Irad Ortiz pressed the go button and off he shot.

The race looked to be in the bag as he surged several lengths clear, however Brown’s other runner Capital Structure did make a late bid to turn the tables on his stablemate. His late surge would prove to be in vain as Rocky Sky would hold on for the easy victory.

It rounded off a superb day for Ortiz who would win all three feature races of the day, cementing his position as one of the best jockeys in the States.

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