09/07/2014 3:32PM

Toasting rallies from last to win Sky Beauty Stakes


A couple of seasoned veterans got the money in the co-featured $100,000 stakes Sunday at Belmont Park, as Toasting came from last to win the Sky Beauty and Za Approval went wire to wire in the Real Courage.

Toasting ($8.10) trailed down the backstretch of the Sky Beauty under Javier Castellano but always was within striking range of the two favorites and caught them near mid-stretch to win going away by 1 1/2 lengths.

“The race set up very well for her,” said Castellano. “It was a small field, and the two favorites had similar running styles. I was able to sit off the speed, which is the way she likes to run, and when I asked her, she responded.”

Toasting, who won a restricted stakes at Belmont last fall, ran one mile in 1:34.49 on a fast main track and upped her record to 5-3-5 from 21 starts for West Point Thoroughbreds and Tom Albertrani.

“I think she prefers the one-turn races,” said Albertrani. “The plan was to take her back off the speed and I think she does better that way.”

Katie’s Garden finished clear for second as the slight favorite over Montana Native, who was well clear of Tahoe Tigress and the distant trailer Sister Friend.

Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile runner-up, Za Approval ($4.20), entered the Real Courage winless from four starts as a 6-year-old, three of those defeats as the favorite. But the drop from graded stakes company proved telling, as the gray gelding never was headed in the seven-furlong turf sprint beneath Joel Rosario and scored by 1 3/4 lengths over the 5-2 second choice Fredericksburg.

“I was surprised to find myself on the lead,” said Rosario. “I did not expect that, but he was traveling well. Even when other horses came to him, he kept improving his position.”

Za Approval ran the seven panels in 1:20.93 on a firm Widener turf course and pushed his career earnings to $1,165,071 for Live Oak Plantation and Christophe Clement.

“He had a great race in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, and then came back and had a pretty good race in the Grade 1 [Kilroe Mile],” said Clement. “He was a bit disappointing after that, and I’m not really sure why. I don’t think he likes the heat. Today was a bit of a cooler day, and I think he enjoyed that.”

Pass the Dice was third, followed by West Hills Giant and Strong Impact, as the compact field finished in pari-mutuel order.