Minor majors in Belmont Oaks
Michael Tabor's Minorette earned a guaranteed starting berth at the Breeders' Cup with victory in the Belmont Oaks.
There was a strong European contingent in the line-up for the 10 furlong Grade One, including the Aidan O'Brien trained Wonderfully who also sported the familiar Tabor silks but it was another filly who had started her career at Ballydoyle who took the spoils.
Minorette won a Naas maiden on debut in July last year before finishing fourth in the Debutante Stakes behind Tapestry. She was transferred to the care of Chad Brown after disappointing on her fourth and final start in the C L Weld Stakes won by My Titania.
Wonderfully was prominent behind the early pace but had no more to offer in the stretch as the principals flashed past her with Minorette scything down the front-running Sea Queen to land her first Grade One and a first win in the States but it was a third straight victory in the race for Brown following on from wins for Alterite and Samitar.
Summer Solo finished third while Francois Doumen's Xcellence stayed on late in the day to finish fourth, one place in front of Wonderfully while Dermot Weld's Flying Jib was back in eighth.
"She was really training big coming into this race. We were pretty confident she'd give a good showing of herself in here," Brown told www.bloodhorse.com.
"The more I got to train her, even before we first ran her, she just moved and looked like a mile and a quarter horse. Her pedigree wouldn't deter you from that, either. We just took our time with her.
"I tell you, the Coolmore group is a wonderful organization to train for. They never told me where to run, when to run. 'It's a nice filly we're giving you, and just give us some feedback.'"
"After the race at Keeneland at a mile when she was closing pretty good and got a good number out of the race, I immediately circled this big one and said, 'Let's just go for it,'" he added.
"I gave her a local prep and it worked, because that's what preps are for. She got a run over the course, and the jock got to know her. When the money counted today, he rode her perfect."
"She moves like she wanted to go longer," Rosario said. "Last time, I moved a little early to take the lead and she waited a little bit. This time I wanted to be a little closer because it looked like there wasn't a lot of speed.
"I could see (Sea Queen) on the outside and wanted to keep an eye on her, and I didn't want to move early. When (Minorette) took the lead she just kept on going."
Formerly the Garden City Stakes, the Belmont Oaks was contested as a Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" event for the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf.