05/26/2012 5:15PM

Belmont: After rough start for some, Aruna proves best in Sheepshead Bay

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Aruna, with Ramon Dominguez riding, wins the Sheepshead Bay.

ELMONT, N.Y. - In an eventful renewal of the Grade 2, $200,000 Sheepshead Bay Stakes, Aruna made a strong move to the lead around the far turn and then persevered to a 1 1/4-length victory at Belmont Park.

Hit It Rich, who sat second early behind runaway leader Aqsaam, held second by one-half length over Mystical Star, who finished one-half length ahead of Principal Role.

Mystical Star, however, was disqualified from third and placed last by the stewards after she broke through the gate prematurely. Though she broke inward and spotted the field several lengths, Mystical Star was deemed by the stewards to have "opened the starting gate doors and left the gate early." But since the stewards also ruled that Mystical Star "caused her own problem," she was not declared a non-starter.

Magical Cat, who was in the stall next to Mystical Star, was declared a non-starter after she was ruled to have been in the hands of the assistant starter when the gates opened. Money wagered on Magical Cat was refunded.

While it could be argued that Mystical Star ran the best race, it was Aruna who was a deserving winner, earning her seventh win from 15 lifetime starts and her fourth U.S. stakes victory.

Ramon Dominguez had Aruna in fourth along the inside while Aqsaam, under Rosie Napravnik, sped off to a double-digit length lead through fractions of 22.80 seconds, 47.34, and 1:13.22. At that point, Aruna was 12 lengths off the pace.

Around the far turn, Dominguez made a powerful move to Aqsaam and inhaled her by the quarter pole.

Dominguez kept busy on Aruna to get her to the wire first, covering 1 3/8 miles in 2:15.47 over ground labeled good. Aruna, trained by Graham Motion for Flaxman Holdings, returned $6.10 as the favorite.

Dominguez said he felt he had to move when he did or risk getting caught behind a tiring horse and perhaps boxed in.

"I was very happy with where I was on the rail and she was pretty handy, but realistically, the horse in front of me was starting to slow down and there was the filly outside of me," Dominguez said. "I had to really take a shot and go through at that moment, which I did. I was a little concerned it would compromise my filly, but she kept on coming for me, so I was very happy."

Aruna won for the first time since she took the Grade 1 Spinster last October at Keeneland. She was fifth in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf and, most recently, last in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley.

"In her last two races we just tried taking her out of it too much in the Breeders' Cup and Jenny Wiley," Motion said. "She's a much more settled filly this year, we don't have to worry about [relaxing]. She's every bit as good as she was last year - she's just had two unlucky runs."


Chuck Seddio More than 1 year ago
it is hard for me to get over this,i have electronically bet through nyra rewards,and i want a refund for my bets on the 1 totalling over 200$. their mistake cost me a fortune. fire all of them.
Chuck Seddio More than 1 year ago
the proper outcome,and i said this to my wife during running,the 1 and 2 will be declared non starters since the idiot pushing the button was at fault,the asst starter of the 2 knew not to let his horse go. how can you dq a horse for breakiong thru the gate?? morons incapable of any reasonable thought are running nyra. tough to b et horses here. the 1 should have been awarded purse money for running third and refunds to the 1 and 2 that simple
Maxine Seddio More than 1 year ago
listen i bet out on mystical star so my opinion is somewhat biased,but right after the start i figured i had a non starter,the roblem here is the nyra starter.why did he hit the button,the only one with common sense in this incident is the asst starter holding the 2 horse,he realized immediately that the 1 broke through the gate and he held back his horse figuring the gate would not open. why not an electric fail safe on the gate so that when a gate is prematurely open the gate will not open no matter how many times the idiot starter hits the button. furthermore hte rule in place is proof that nyra has no faith in their three blind mice,hte rule is black and white and leaves no room for common sense judgement. just remember allemeuse. i am totally disgusteed as i went all in on mystical star and had the best horse
Tom Smith More than 1 year ago
why would anyone expect common sense and doing right by the customer in that sewer known as new york
Ronald Friedman More than 1 year ago
If a horse leaves the gate early and the starter then releases the field it is his fault.If an assistant holds a horse in the gate it is his fault.In both cases a non start must be declared.Otherwise you're blaming the horse for cheating.The rule is utterly ridiculous and can't be defended.It was human error not horse error.When a horse fouls another during a race it's jockey error.The only time you can blame the horse,himself, is when he savages another.The public's money is not protected.
justin More than 1 year ago
I was at MonmouthPark betting on Belmont. I thought I hit the trifecta and the superfecta in the feature race at Belmont.Then I saw the inquiry,they took the one horse down.I was so pissed off when I saw the replay.Nyra should be ashamed.the gate crew should be fired they always take forever to get the horse in the gate.Another black eye for new York racing!
Larry Kaufman More than 1 year ago
there is no rule book at nyra,the stewards check their tickets and do what is best for them. governor cuomo its time to get rid of all the crooks at nyra
Brendan Oneil More than 1 year ago
NYRA starting gate crew is and has been the worst for years. If you regularly follow NYRA racing you understand. When a horse breaks through the gate he is usually reined in by an outrider & brought back into the gate if he hasn't run off too far or has been injured. The fact that the starter opened the gate and the horse broke through @ ALMOST the same time is a tough beat on the backers of Mystical Star. Because the starter opened the gates NYRA decided to dq MS. Because the starter held on to #2 (right thing to do) he was declared nonstarter. Rough logic. You could ask why the starter opened the gate at all even though it is a very tight timeframe. MS should have been declared nonstarter also. NYRA dq MS to absolve itself of any wrong doing in light of the very sad state of affairs they are presently in. NYRA gate crew worst in country. Watch how long they take to load,how long they stand in the gate,how many horses balk going into the gate due to inadequate gate schooling. Then watch the starts @ other tracks for comparison.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Folks, just stop embarrassing yourselves. NYRA may have their issues, but they were correct in all the things they were forced to do in this race. Explaining it in layman's terms apparently does not cut it, so read what the stewards wrote: # 1 Mystical Star (J. Lezcano) rears and breaks through the starting gate doors prior to the other doors opening, thus causing her own problem. # 2 Magical Cat (IRE) (J. Velazquez) reacted to the actions of # 1 and was held in the gate by the assistant starter. # 2 was subsequently pulled up after leaving the gate and did not finish. # 2’s chances were compromised at the start and was declared a Non-starter, with all wagers refunded. # 1 was disqualified and placed last, having opened the starting gate doors and left the gate early. The stewards followed the rulebook, your opinion of "common sense" be damned---if they had used "common sense" y'all would've claimed they should follow the rule of law. NYRA may have its self-inflicted issues, but they'll apparently never win with you folks, even when they get it absolutely right. I sometimes can't tell if some of you are stupid or just stubborn.
mike mckenzie More than 1 year ago
first off, nyra is not FORCED to act within their "rules", i'll have another can't wear the nose strip...NOT in the rules mystical cat broke through the gate and the assistant starter couldn't hold on, the horse would be allowed to reload if it wasn't at the start, the incident didn't involve any other horses declared starters, the horse did cause it's own problem but did not interfere with any declared runners...the stewards clearly have leverage,m it's just how they use it....nyra doesn't have to win, they already have about half the market
Craig Cantrell More than 1 year ago
What a joke this rule is...why would ANYONE want to bet on a race in New York now that we know THEY STEAL YOUR MONEY....NO THANKS NY