Mean Mary Ekes Out A Win In The New York Stakes

A torrential downpour might have delayed racing for 30 minutes at Belmont Park Friday afternoon, but the rain couldn’t dampen the parade for Mean Mary. The Graham Motion trainee and daughter of Scat Daddy broke fast to take a two-length lead and then held off a fast closing Thundering Nights (IRE) to win the Grade 2 New York Stakes at a mile and a quarter on the turf.

Winner of the 2020 edition of the New York, Mean Mary faced a field of eight others, including Harvey’s Little Goil, after Micheline, Always Shopping, and Antoinette scratched. Breaking from post position six, this 5-year-old mare broke flying under jockey Luis Saez on a yielding Belmont turf course, opening up a length and a half between her and Traipsing. Virginia Joy and Harvey’s Little Goil ran in third and fourth for the first six furlongs.

With fractions of :25.09 for the first quarter and :50.31 for the half, Mean Mary held an easy lead throughout, keeping the pace slow and saving enough for her stretch run. Out of the final turn, Thundering Nights, trained by Joseph O’Brien, was set down for a furious stretch run by John Velazquez, but was unable to catch Mean Mary. Only a nose separated the two at the wire.

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Owned by Alex Campbell Thoroughbreds, Mean Mary is a daughter of the late Scat Daddy (Johannesburg) out of the Dynaformer mare Karlovy Vary. She is two for two in 2021, with a victory in the G3 Galorette in her first start of the year at Pimlico on Preakness Stakes Day. She ran the mile and a quarter New York Stakes in 2:04.68. My Sister Nat and Virginia Joy finished third and fourth, with Harvey’s Little Goil, Mutamakina, Magic Attitude, Civil Union, and Traipsing rounding out the field.

Trainer Graham Motion was pleased with his repeat victor’s performance even with the short margin between her and Thundering Nights.

“I was really anxious when I saw [No. 9, Thundering Nights] closing so fast, but I had felt pretty confident to that point.” Motion told the NYRA press office. “She was really running. She came out of the gate like a rabbit. I’d never seen her break like that. She really does love it. She’s such a cool filly.”

Jockey Luis Saez was pleased with Mean Mary’s run on the yielding turf.

“She got a great trip, broke out of there so well.” Saez said after the race. “She always breaks pretty well, but today was better than ever. She controlled the pace. The track was a little soft, but she handled it. She tried pretty hard the whole time.”

Mean Mary, a narrow favorite at 5-2 over Harvey’s Lil Goil, paid $7.40, $4.80, and $4.20. Thundering Nights (4-1) paid $5.40 and $4.50. My Sister Nat (18-1) paid $6.90 to show.

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