Klaravich Stables' Newspaperofrecord made a strong impression in a maiden-breaking debut last month and was even more impressive in her stakes debut, going gate-to-wire and pulling away in the stretch for a 6 ½-length romp in the 39th running of the Grade 2, $200,000 Miss Grillo for 2-year-old fillies on Sunday at Belmont Park.
Newspaperofrecord, who won her first start on yielding turf by 6 ¾ lengths on August 19 at Saratoga Race Course, broke sharply as Irad Ortiz, Jr. sent her to the front of the nine-horse field, setting early fractions of 23.44 seconds for a quarter-mile with the half in 48.26 on an inner turf course also labeled yielding.
The Irish-bred daughter of Lope de Vega maintained the lead out of the far turn, with Ortiz setting her down as Newspaperofrecord surged to the wire under a right-handed whip, completing 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.11 to improve to 2-for-2.
Trainer Chad Brown said Newspaperofrecord will now be pointing towards the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf on November 2 at Churchill Downs.
“I thought she would be forwardly placed,” Brown said. “In her debut she was, but I didn't think she'd be on the lead. I'm happy to hear from Irad right now. I was concerned that the first quarter of a mile maybe she was just running on or she wasn't real responsive to the ride or something, but he said, 'No, she just broke well and I let her go with it.' She was always in the race, and as long as that's the case, I'm fine with it.
“I was feeling pretty good turning for home, her ears popped and it looked like she was just galloping. You really never know until you turn them loose. She was loaded and pretty impressive, and he geared her down just in the shadow of the wire. Obviously, we're going to run in the Breeders' Cup, so hopefully she didn't do much today.”
Newspaperofrecord paid $4 on a $2 win wager as the even-money favorite. She more than doubled her career earnings to $156,750.
“Our plan was try to relax her and finish, but she broke so sharp and I didn't take anything away,” Ortiz said. “She put me right there and made the lead so easy. She was relaxed on the lead, so I took it and it was good for us.”
Varenka, a Graham Motion trainee coming off a second-place finish in the P.G. Johnson on August 30 at the Spa, rallied for a second straight runner-up effort, outkicking Stellar Agent by 1 ¾ lengths.
Dogtag, the winner of the P.G. Johnson also trained by Brown, finished fourth. Miss Technicality, No More Fast Women, Virginia Eloise, Kitty's Legacy and Decorated Ace completed the order of finish. Takecharge Mirella, entered for the main-track only, was scratched.
One race prior, Centennial Farms' Rocketry exploded late in the stretch to earn his first stakes win and break a 98-year-old track record previously held by the legendary Man o' War in the $200,000 Temperence Hill for 3-year-olds and up going 1 5/8 miles.
Breaking from the rail with Joel Rosario aboard, Rocketry stalked comfortably as War Story and Archanova battled up front, setting fractions of 49.58 seconds for the half-mile with three quarters in 1:13.73.
Sent forward from the back of the pack at the three-eighths pole, Rocketry hooked up with You're to Blame and War Story at the quarter pole, as the three were nearly even at the top of the stretch.
Set down in a full drive, Rocketry first overtook War Story and extended away from You're to Blame in the late stretch to secure the victory by 1 ½ lengths in a final time of 2:40.18. That bested Man o' War's mark of 2:40.80 set on September 4, 1920.
Returning $9.30 for a $2 win bet, Rocketry boosted his career earnings to $371,590 in his first start on the dirt for winning trainer Jimmy Jerkens.
“I was glad to see he was a lot more on the bridle than he is on the turf, so I felt good going into the backside that he wasn't pumping on him just to keep him close like you do on the turf,” said Jerkens. “He can fall way back on the turf even when the pace was slow. The way he was galloping into the backstretch, I felt good.”
Proud of his Rocketry's first performance on dirt, Jerkens was more tranquil when it came to breaking Man o' War's record.
“It's kind of sad, that's for sure,” Jerkens said. “The great Man o' War. But like I told Maggie [Wolfendale on NYRA's Belmont Live], I don't think they've probably ran it [the distance] four times since Man o' War ran it. But, when they run it again next year, his name will be in the program.”
Following the runner-up You're to Blame was War Story, Archanova and G Zap. Carlino was scratched.
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