Longshot Exacta In Jaipur Highlight Of Successful Belmont Day For Hall Of Famer Mott

Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott saddled a pair of longshot chances in Saturday’s Grade 1, $400,000 Jackpocket Jaipur and ended up completing a personal exacta when Casa Creed [10-1] posted a two-length score over stablemate Chewing Gum [28-1] in the six-furlong inner turf sprint for 3-year-olds and up on Belmont Stakes day at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.

Owned by LRE Racing and JEH Racing Stable, the 5-year-old son of Jimmy Creed registered a career-best 105 Beyer for his first win since capturing the one-mile Grade 2 Hall of Fame in August 2019 at Saratoga.

While Saturday’s victory came with a “Win and You’re In” berth to the five-furlong Grade 1, $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint in November at Del Mar, Mott said the distance is likely too short for Casa Creed, who may have found a new niche after winning the seven-furlong Elusive Quality in April on the Belmont green after a long string of races at one mile or greater.

“We’d been looking for some races that would be appropriate, he’s not necessarily the greatest miler, I suppose,” said Mott. “We’ve known he doesn’t want to get over a mile.

“He ran the seven-eighths here and ran good,” added Mott regarding the Elusive Quality score. “We’d meant to try him in shorter races in the past but it didn’t work out for one reason or another, but it worked out yesterday.”

Mott said he was pleased with the condition of the turf for the Jaipur, which was rated as ‘good’ despite a deluge of rain on Friday that led to a yielding turf on Day Two of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival in which the Mott-trained Harvey’s Lil Goil finished an even fifth in the 10-furlong Grade 2, $750,000 New York.

Over a drying-out course in the Jaipur, Bound for Nowhere rattled off swift splits of 22.06 and 44.65 to the half-mile, setting up Casa Creed for a sharp closing kick, stopping the click in 1:08.04.

“Given the New York handicap the day before, I thought they might go three-quarters in 11 or 12,” said Mott. “The course held up really well. They weren’t kicking up anything. I’ll give the NYRA turf man a pat on the back for that. It was in good shape and handled the water well.”

Mott said he has no immediate target for Casa Creed.

“Maybe we’ll have a chance to shorten him up to 5 ½,” he offered.

Junior Alvarado, who engineered the winning Jaipur trip, was at the Mott barn Sunday morning and expressed his joy at seeing Casa Creed break through at the top flight.

“He’s been right there knocking on the door for a Grade 1 and finally he got it,” said Alvarado.

The veteran rider said it was good to hear the roar of the crowd on Saturday with 11,238 fans in attendance.

“It makes it more exciting,” said Alvarado. “We’re competitive athletes and to have the fans there screaming and yelling, it definitely gets you more excited. We needed that yesterday.”

Wachtel Stable, Pantofel Stable and Jerold Zaro’s Chewing Gum rallied from last-of-9 to complete the exacta. The 6-year-old multiple graded-stakes placed son of Candy Ride earned a personal-best 99 Beyer.

“He ran a super race, take nothing away from him,” said Mott. “For me, he’s the same [as Casa Creed]; a mile stretches him a little bit and five and a half [furlongs] is a little bit sharp – he’s coming, it’s amazing what they can do in that last sixteenth.”

The Mott-trained exacta returned $335.50 for a $2 wager.

Mott said the Estate of Harvey A. Clarke and Paul Braverman’s multiple graded-stakes winner Harvey’s Lil Goil, winner of the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup in October at Keeneland, didn’t handle the yielding turf on Friday.

Michael Shanley’s Nova Rags, runner-up in the nine-furlong Grade 3 Peter Pan in May at Belmont, turned back to seven-furlongs and finished third behind winner Drain the Clock and runner-up Jackie’s Warrior in Saturday’s Grade 1 Woody Stephens.

“Grade 1 placed and got a check,” said Mott, with a grin. “He wasn’t good enough yesterday, but we took our shot. We knew they’d go fast and hoped they would back up more than they did, but they didn’t. They kept going, two good horses.”

Juddmonte Farms homebred Obligatory, a sophomore daughter of Curlin, closed five-wide down the lane to finish second, by a half-length, to Search Results in Saturday’s Grade 1 Acorn.

Dayoutoftheoffice posted moderate splits of 23.50, 47.23 and 1:11 in the one-turn mile before giving way to the Kentucky Oaks-runner-up, who got the jump on Obligatory.

“She ran well; no pace,” said Mott. “It was a pace-less race. Didn’t suit her, but she still ran good. Take nothing away from the winner.”

Mott indicated Obligatory, winner of the Grade 2 Eight Belles in April at Churchill Downs, would target the seven-furlong Grade 1 Longines Test for sophomore fillies on August 7 at Saratoga.

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