Updated on 09/15/2011 12:39PM

Tweedside fittest of CCA Oaks survivors

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NYRA/ Adam Coglianese
Three strides from the gate, Chris McCarron is tossed by 4-5 Starrer. Tweedside (far left) went on to win.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Chris McCarron literally got his butt kicked in Saturday's Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Belmont Park.

McCarron flew cross-country to ride Starrer in the $350,000 Coaching Club, but was unseated three jumps out of the gate as Starrer, the 4-5 favorite, took a bad step and stumbled. She threw McCarron head over heels and kicked McCarron in the left buttock, leaving just a bruise.

"She was three or four strides out of the gate. Normally horses don't stumble that far out of the gate," McCarron said. "She must have overreached and grabbed a quarter or something."

With Starrer out of the picture, the CCA became a wide-open affair, and it went to Tweedside, the only filly in the field who could navigate the 1 1/2 miles. She finished 7 3/4 lengths ahead of Exogenous. It was 21 1/2 lengths back to Unbridled Lassie.

Ten Flags, Majority Whip, Tap Dance, and Classy Place completed the order of finish.

The Coaching Club is the third leg of New York's triple crown for 3-year-old fillies. With Acorn winner Flute and Mother Goose winner Fleet Renee not running, there were only two graded-stakes winners in the field. Starrer, winner of the Grade 2 Princess Stakes, eliminated herself at the break.

Bonnie Miss winner Tap Dance, under Filiberto Leon, set the pace and cut out fractions of 23.85 seconds, 47.20, 1:11.14, and 1:37.37. She was done after a mile, and Tweedside moved to the lead leaving the half-mile pole. Exogenous, under Edgar Prado made a run at her around the turn, but tired in upper stretch as a leg-weary Tweedside persevered to the line. Tweedside covered the 12 furlongs in 2:30.70 and returned $23.40 to win.

"I was concerned about the second turn, because Filiberto never dropped in," said Velazquez, who won three races on the day. "I just cut the turn, and that made it easy for me. I had to stay busy on her, because she gets to the lead and she waits."

As a 2-year-old, Tweedside was a bust on dirt, losing her first four starts. She found success on the turf, winning twice and running second twice in four starts. When last month's Sands Point Handicap came off the turf, Sands Point won on a wet main track. That win, and her breeding, convinced trainer Todd Pletcher to try her in the CCA Oaks.

"We just felt like the pedigree would let her stay," said Pletcher, who noted Tweedside's sire, Thunder Gulch, won the Belmont Stakes and sired this year's Belmont winner Point Given. "We felt like the ingredients were there and we'd take a shot."