Jockey Javier Castellano sent C. S. Silk right to the lead and onto a 12-1 upset of the Grade 1, $400,000 Foxwoods Just a Game for fillies and mares on the Belmont Stakes undercard Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park.
It was the third victory of the afternoon for Castellano, who piloted the 5-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro through fractions of 25.24, 50.58 and 1:15.59 en route to a three-length victory over the late-running Fantasia.
Her time for the mile was 1:40.53 over a Widener turf course rated “good.”
“I think the key was getting her to relax at the first quarter,” said Castellano, who also won the first race with Seal Cover ($6.60) and the fourth with Johannesburg Smile ($8.40). “For the first quarter of a mile, she was relaxed. We walked with the 25-second first quarter. The rest was history. When I asked her, it was like I pushed a button and she took off.”
Trained by Dale Romans, C. S. Silk returned $27.20 for a $2 win bet as she improved her record to 7-5-2 with her first Grade 1 score. The Foxwoods Just a Game was her first win in four 2011 starts, and first win in a graded stakes since she took the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Lassie in 2008. Owned by William Pacella, Fred Barbara and George Bonomo, C. S. Silk has now earned $776,896 from 24 lifetime starts.
“The turf today suited us perfectly,” said Romans. “She's from Medaglia d'Oro’s first crop, and everybody knows what his fillies have done. She has three or four half-brothers and sisters who are stakes horses, and it’s huge getting a Grade 1 win with her. We’ve had her since she was a yearling, and she has been a little bit fickle where she’d throw in a bad race and then throw a good one. We just can't give up on her. She pays you off when she's right.”
Aviate, the 3-2 favorite, finished sixth in the field of nine fillies and mares.
“The ground was too much for her,” said jockey Kent Desormeaux. “It takes a special kind of horse to enjoy the going, and I don't think she did at all. There was no running. She was trying hard early but she gave up quick.”
Finishing a length behind Fantasia in third was Amen Hallelujah, followed by Justaroundmidnight, Gypsy’s Warning, Aviate, Much Rejoicing, Strike the Bell, and Cherokee Queen.