Under a peach of a pocket-sitting ride by Flavien Prat, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Joseph F. Graffeo, Eric Nikolaus del Toro and Troy Johnson’s Con Lima transferred her Florida form with aplomb in Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Wonder Again, a nine-furlong inner-turf test for sophomore fillies at Belmont Park.
Trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, Con Lima was tipped out by Prat at the top of the lane to pass pace-setting stablemate Jouster and held off Plum Ali and jockey Joel Rosario in the final strides by a half-length.
Jouster set fractions of 25.42, 51.49, 1:17.89 and 1:39.03 for one mile before being passed by the winner, who hit the wire in 1:50.84 over the turf rated good. It was another three-quarters of a length back to a late-running slight favorite Gift List in third.
Off at 8/1 odds, the daughter of 2014 Belmont Stakes runner-up Commissioner won her sixth race and fourth stakes from 11 starts and paid $18.60 on a $2 win wager.
“She seems to be better on grass, I’m not really sure why,” said Pletcher, who won the race for the second consecutive year, following Sweet Melania’s triumph in 2020. “Pedigree-wise, it doesn’t really jump out at you. Commissioner was beaten a tough one in the Belmont here, so that gives you faith that she can run further. She’s been very consistent for us. She runs hard every time.
“She didn’t seem to mind the turf,” he continued. “It’s encouraging to see that she might stay a mile and a quarter. We knew Jouster was the quicker of the two, so I told Flavien to just stalk her and it worked out well. She kicked on. She’s shown she can do it both ways now.”
Prat said Con Lima was full of run when asked.
“We had a good trip,” said Prat. “She broke well. It took me a little time to get her to relax, but she finally did down the backside. She responded really well when I asked her to come home.”
Rosario said the late-running Plum Ali, winner of the Grade 2 Miss Grillo in October at Belmont, was at a disadvantage from the outermost post 9.
“I couldn’t get into position right away, so I had to just wait. I had nowhere to go,” said Rosario. “She was closing better than everyone else. We just didn’t get the trip.”
Bred in Texas by Lisa Kuhlmann, Con Lima previously landed the Honey Ryder, Grade 3 Herecomesthebride and listed Ginger Brew – all at Gulfstream Park.
A $22,000 OBS March 2020 bargain, she earned $110,000 to increase here career bankroll to $379,865.
Jouster held on for fourth, followed by Fluffy Socks, Technical Analysis, Alwayz Late, Creative Cairo and I Get It. Mia Martina was scratched.
Day Two of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival continues Friday at Belmont with an 11-race card, featuring five stakes, including the Grade 2, $750,000 New York, a 10-furlong turf test for older fillies and mares; the Grade 2, $400,000 Belmont Gold Cup at two miles on the Widener turf for older horses; the Grade 2, $300,000 True North, a 6 1/2-furlong sprint for older horses; the Grade 3, $300,000 Bed O’ Roses, a seven-furlong sprint for older fillies and mares; and the $150,000 Tremont for juveniles. First post is 12:50 p.m. Eastern.
Starting on May 1, Belmont Park re-opened to a limited number of spectators. All admission must be purchased in advance at nyra.com/belmont/tickets/.
For comprehensive information on health and safety protocols in effect for the Belmont Park spring/summer meet, please visit: https://www.nyra.com/belmont/visit/plan-your-visit.
Belmont Park Press Release
Photo: Con Lima ( NYRA/ JG Photo)