By Brian Bohl
ELMONT, N.Y. – With the training title of the Belmont fall meet already secured, Chad Brown padded the lead by conditioning the exacta in the stakes schedule finale, as Ingrassia split horses in the stretch to gain the edge before holding off stablemate Fluffy Socks by a nose to win Sunday’s $100,000 Chelsey Flower for juvenile fillies on Closing Day of the meet.
The eighth running of the Chelsey Flower, and the last stakes of the 27-day meet, saw 2-1 second choice Ingrassia track Psychic Ability’s early pace, leading the eight-horse field through the opening quarter-mile in 23.80 seconds and the half in 50.52 on the Widener turf course rated soft after rain pelted the course.
Caldee, the 8-5 favorite, took command entering the far turn and Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano tucked her inside straightening for home. Fluffy Socks, under Irad Ortiz, Jr., made a strong bid from the outside. But Ingrassia, under Belmont fall meet-leading rider Jose Ortiz, surged through the seam in the middle and powered through to the wire in a 1:52.01 final time for the 1 1/16-mile course, repelling Fluffy Socks’ charge from the outside.
“I had a good trip. My filly was very willing and I think she liked the soft turf,” said Ortiz, who finished the meet with 40 wins and swept Sunday’s stakes action by also piloting Honor Way to victory in the Pumpkin Pie for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up on the main track one race earlier.
Ingrassia, owned by Don Alberto Stable, won for the second time in three career starts. The Kentucky homebred posted a successful debut on August 19 at Saratoga Race Course before running third in the Grade 2 Jessamine on October 7 at Keeneland. Returning to New York, the Medaglia d’Oro filly returned $6.50 on a $2 win bet and improved her career earnings to $98,600.
Head of Plains Partners’ Fluffy Socks finished 7 1/4 lengths in front of Tic Tic Tic Boom for second. Caldee, Mischievous Dream, Zeyaraat, Psychic Ability and Golden Voice completed the order of finish. Oyster Box, Joqular, Lovestruck and American West scratched.
Brown’s 22 wins paced all trainers at the meet.
Chelsey Flower Replay
Living race will move to Aqueduct Racetrack for the 18-day fall meet which will open on Friday, November 6 and run through Sunday, December 6. The meet will be highlighted by 29 stakes, including 11 graded events, worth $3.41 million in purse money. The Opening Day card, offering 10 races in total with a first post time of 11:15 a.m. Eastern, will feature the $100,000 Atlantic Beach for 2-year-olds going six furlongs on the outer turf and the $100,000 Tempted for juvenile fillies going one mile on the main track.
Photo: Ingrassia (inside) and Fluffy Socks in Chelsey Flower. (Susie Raisher)