10/18/2014 1:39PM

Ostrolenka delivers in Sleepy Hollow Stakes

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Barbara D. Livingston
Ostrolenka and jockey John Velazquez win the Sleepy Hollow Stakes by 2 1/2 lengths Saturday.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Several years ago, owner Eric Fein campaigned the consistent, hard-trying Musket Man, who won the Tampa Bay and Illinois derbies and ran third in the Kentucky Derby at 3 and was the runner-up in the Carter and Metropolitan handicaps – both Grade 1 races – at 4.

When Fein decided to breed all his mares to Musket Man, including the low-level claimer Pumpkin’s Pride, he hoped for one thing.

“If any of these babies can get the heart that Musket Man had, that’s all I was hoping for,” Fein said.

Ostrolenka showed some of that heart and plenty of talent Saturday at Belmont Park, overcoming an inside, pressing trip to win the $250,000 Sleepy Hollow Stakes for New York-bred juveniles by 2 1/2 lengths.

Good Luck Gus, who was stalking the pacesetting Breakin the Fever from the outside, finished second, three-quarters of a length ahead of  Market Conduct.

Thank You, Bullheaded Boy, Bellamy Way, and Breakin the Fever completed the order of finish.

The win was the second from three starts for Ostrolenka, who was coming back three weeks after winning a maiden race by 14 1/2 lengths for trainer Todd Pletcher.

“We were both concerned about the three weeks coming back after that win,” said Fein, who appeared to bring half the town of Jericho, N.Y., with him to Belmont. “I guess we didn’t have any reason to be concerned.”

John Velazquez rode the winner, and when a speed duel he was expecting didn’t develop, Velazquez made sure to keep Ostrolenka in a forward position along the inside. Ostrolenka pressed Breakin the Fever through a quarter in 23.61 seconds, a half-mile in 46.91 seconds, and six furlongs in 1:11.83.

As soon as track announcer John Imbriale said that Ostrolenka and Good Luck Gus were heads apart, Ostrolenka spurted away. Ostrolenka covered the mile in 1:37.39 and returned $3.30 as the 3-5 favorite.

“It was getting tight a little bit in there, and going to the five-eighths pole, I said, ‘Let me take this spot there and make sure I’m comfortable,’ ” Velazquez said. “Once I was there, he got into the bridle, and it was very good.”

Quezon wins Maid of the Mist

When Robert Ribaudo, the trainer of first-out winner Quezon, saw that the stakes-winning filly Temper Mint Patty was entered in Saturday’s $250,000 Maid of the Mist Stakes, he figured that finishing a good second to that filly would be good enough.

Quezon did her trainer one better.

Despite stumbling at the start, having to go widest of all around the turn, and never changing leads, Quezon scored a dominant six-length victory over Temper Mint Patty, the 2-5 favorite.

“You don’t have to save ground when you’re on the best horse,” Ribaudo said. “I didn’t know that at the time.”

After Quezon stumbled, jockey Manuel Franco put his filly right behind Temper Mint Patty, who was stalking Myfourchix and Sandra through a half-mile in 47.88 seconds.

Temper Mint Patty made a three-wide move, and Quezon made a four-wide move, approaching the quarter pole. Temper Mint Patty had a slim lead turning for home, but Quezon easily went by her and drew clear.

Quezon, a daughter of Tiz Wonderful, covered the mile in 1:38.38 and returned $10.20 as the second choice.

“I had a lot of horse today,” Franco said.

Ribaudo, who trains Quezon for owner Marc Keller, said he likely will put the filly away until early next year.

Temper Mint Patty was favored based on a 13 1/2-length victory in the Joseph A. Gimma Stakes in the slop here Sept. 21. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. said his filly had no real excuses Saturday.

“She was a little wide, and I had to use her a little bit early, but no excuse,” Ortiz said. “The winner won pretty good; she’s a nice filly, too.  She came around and still won the race easy. We were second-best today.”