Peter Brant's Homerique made her North American debut a successful one in Saturday's Grade 3 Beaugay Stakes at Belmont Park, showing off a strong late kick to defeat her stablemate Competitionofideas by about a half-length on the line. The 4-year-old daughter of Exchange Rate ran 1 1/16 miles over the firm inner turf in 1:44.76, pleasing both jockey Irad Ortiz and trainer Chad Brown in her first start since December.
Homerique stalked from the back of the pack as Chipolata led the field of six through fractions of 26.87 seconds for the opening quarter-mile with the half in 52.86.
As the field approached the quarter-pole, Homerique, moving up to fifth-position, was swung wide at the top of the stretch as Competitionofideas found her way along the rail from third. With Chipolata giving way in the late stretch, Homerique closed fast and overtook Competitionofideas in the final yards to secure the victory, completing 1 1/16 miles in a final time of 1:44.76 on the firm inner turf.
Homerique launched her career in France under the tutelage of Francis-Henri Graffard where she was a Group 3 winner.
“For the first time in the country, that was impressive,” said Ortiz, Jr. “She's a nice filly. She did everything right. There wasn't too much speed or too much pace in the race, so I knew it probably wouldn't a problem with her because even if she doesn't break that good, she was going to be close to the pace because they'll go slow. She finishes [strong]. I think when she goes a little longer, she's going to be better.”
Homerique ran third in the Group 1 Prix de l'Opera at Longchamp in October in her previous outing and demonstrated her significant class in victory off the layoff.
Brant said the talented filly could target the Grade 2, $600,000 New York on June 7, part of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, for her next outing.
“She ran against the best in Europe,” said Brant. “Even when getting in trouble, she was always right there. She's a classy kind of filly that you want to see run.
“We were concerned that she might have been one work shy of a race,” added Brant. “Chad didn't want to go into the New York fresh going a mile and a quarter, so he decided to use this race and she overcame it and won. If she comes out of the race in good order and Chad keeps it in his plan, we'll be there.”
Following Competitionofideas in second was Chipolata, Andina Del Sur, Matty's Magnum and Binti Al Nar completed the order of finish.
Bred in Kentucky by Nicky Drion and Francois Drion, Homerique is out of the winning Congaree mare Chiquita Picosa. She ran six starts in France to begin her career, earning a Group 3 victory and a pair of Group 1 placings before her transfer to the United States. Overall, the filly has now won three of her seven starts to earn nearly $400,000.
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