09/14/2013 7:27PM

Belmont Park: Alterite impresses in Garden City Stakes

Tom Keyser
Alterite, ridden by John Velazquez, wins the Grade 1 Garden City Stakes by 1 1/2 lengths Saturday at Belmont Park.

ELMONT, N.Y. – A difficult day turned around in a hurry for trainer Chad Brown when Alterite, making her North American debut, scored a visually impressive 1 1/2-length victory in Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Garden City Stakes at Belmont Park.

Receiving only a hand ride from John Velazquez, Alterite easily went by the pacesetting Discreet Marq inside the eighth pole and cruised to a comfortable victory in her first start for Brown.

In a four-horse photo finish, Discreet Marq held second by a nose over Concise, who was third by a head over Watsdachances, who was fourth by a nose over Summer of Fun.

The win helped Brown salvage a day in which his 2-year-old filly Ready to Act ducked in and hit the rail – unseating jockey Rajiv Maragh – when she seemed on her way to victory in the Grade 3, $200,000 Natalma Stakes at Woodbine. One race before the Garden City, at Belmont, the Brown-trained Laugh Out Loud finished last in the Grade 3 Noble Damsel.

“This is a great way to end it,” Brown said. “That’s horse racing; I ride both sides of the cycle. I just hope [Maragh] is okay.”

This was the second straight year that Brown and owner Martin Schwartz won the Grade 1 Garden City. Last year, they did it with Samitar, who didn’t win another race for a year.

Michel Zerolo, a bloodstock agent, purchased Alterite for Schwartz following her 2-year-old season, and the filly raced four times in France this year, winning once and coming within a nose of taking a Group 1 at Longchamp.

“When Michel bought this horse as a 2-year-old for Marty, he told me how high he was on her,” Brown said.

Brown was a little concerned that the turf was labeled “firm” Saturday, but it most likely had some give in it due to Thursday’s heavy rains.

Under Velazquez, Alterite was sitting fourth in the Garden City but within three lengths of the slow pace established by Discreet Marq, who ran six furlongs in 1:15.49.

Velazquez tipped Alterite three wide around the far turn, and the filly joined the leaders, basically under her own power. When Velazquez started moving his hands vigorously in upper stretch, Alterite took off and sped past Discreet Marq.

“She was going so good that I didn’t worry about [the pace],” said Velazquez, who is just 2 for 33 at this meet. “[Brown] just said, ‘Tuck her in the first part, work your way through, and let her finish.’ I didn’t really have to work my way through. I just had to pull her out at the three-eighths pole and let her cruise to the horses in front of her, and she did it pretty easy.”

Alterite, a French-bred daughter of Literato, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.55 and returned $8 as the second choice behind Discreet Marq.

“For her to still kick on to a slow pace like that and run on firmer ground than probably she’s more effective on, it was a pretty impressive race,” Brown said.

Brown said he most likely would point Alterite to the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland on Oct. 12.

Eddie Smith More than 1 year ago
Which American track is finally going to stop the subjectiveness of labeling turf courses "firm", "good", etc. Track superintendents should follow the lead of other tracks throughout the world and use a penetrometer to obtain an objective reading of the give in the course and make that data public. The course could then be given a more objective label based on multiple penetrometer readings.
MoneyMarcus More than 1 year ago
Concise will improve 5 lengths with a new rider. Graham Motion did not want to win this one when he named Prado to ride. He's saving this horse for bigger races.
robert More than 1 year ago
I believe Prado has ridden some nice stakes wins for Motion and continues to ride the stable's well meant horses. Shared Account (Breeders Cup Filly Mare Turf 2010) and Quschi (Saratoga Waya Stakes 2013) come to mind. More to come, I'm sure; Prado knows how to save ground.
MoneyMarcus More than 1 year ago
Palice Malice improved 20 lengths after Prado. Prado of the 90's would have won big with Palice Malice. Now, he's looking around to find excuses to pull his horses up even if there is no valid reason to do so. Prado would find trouble in a one horse field. Concise will win big with a new jock.
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
He didn't give her the best chance by getting stuck in the pocket. Very questionable ride seemed willing but your point is valid
MoneyMarcus More than 1 year ago
Lawrence Macselwiney More than 1 year ago
She won that so easy.The way she won 3 to 1 was a fair price. Nice Horse!
zerosumzen More than 1 year ago
Maybe a little too easy against this strong field; given her past in Europe.
robert More than 1 year ago
Alerite looked solid and is improving, now 2 for 2 on left-handed courses. But the race set up like a Euro race on the big Belmont course. Let's see how she does second time U.S., on Keeneland's tighter turns, in the middle of a quicker pace - assuming that happens. Wouldn't get too excited at a short price.
Lawrence Macselwiney More than 1 year ago
Valid points. I bet her today, but I doubt there will be value there next time and a dawdling pace. You are right it set up perfectly for a Euro. The talent is there though.
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
I really wagered because of the validation of the $TOTE she was getting Not a secret
Jorge More than 1 year ago
Nice ride by JV. That's for those that keep thinking he is overrated.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Here's to Rajiv and just an aside... do Riders and Trainers ever walk the course anymore?