06/11/2011 4:59PM

Just a Game: C. S. Silk controls pace en route to a 12-1 upset

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Justin N. Lane
C. S. Silk sprints for the wire after having set a relaxed pace in the Grade 1 Just a Game.

ELMONT, N.Y. – In what trainer Dale Romans was hoping was a preview of coming attractions, C. S. Silk scored a front-running victory at Belmont Park on Saturday in the Grade 1, $400,000 Just A Game Stakes for female turf horses, run less than two hours before Romans was to send out Preakness Stakes winner Shackleford in the Belmont Stakes.

Racing over a turf course rated good because of daylong rain, C. S. Silk ($27.20) set steady fractions of 25.24 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, 50.58 seconds for a half-mile, and 1:15.59 for six furlongs before completing one mile in 1:40.53 under jockey Javier Castellano.

C. S. Silk won by three lengths over Fantasia, who rallied from last in the nine-horse field to finish second, one length in front of third-place Amen Hallelujah. Aviate, the 3-2 favorite, finished sixth.

"I know the turf is soft. She loves it; she handled it so well," Castellano said. "She was comfortable on the lead. We walked with the 25-second first quarter. The rest was history. When I asked her, it was like I pushed a button and she took off."

Romans believes C. S. Silk does better with a target, but with so little speed in the Just A Game, C. S. Silk found herself on the lead.

"When they put up that half in 50 seconds, I knew they were not going to outrun her the last half-mile," Romans said.

C. S. Silk, 5, was winless in three prior starts this year. She most recently had finished ninth of 10 in the Jenny Wiley at Keeneland. She has now won seven times in 24 starts.

Kent Desormeaux, who rode Aviate, said the "ground was too much for her."