Just F Y I just splashes to a win and a spot in the Breeders’ Cup (Janet Napolitano)
By Brian Bohl – NYRA Press Office
OZONE PARK, N.Y.— George Krikorian’s Kentucky homebred Just F Y I overtook pacesetter Irish Maxima and Life Talk out of the turn and powered home a 3 3/4-length winner in Saturday’s Grade 1, $400,000 Frizette, a one-turn mile for juvenile fillies, at Belmont at the Big A.
Just F Y I, a debut winner on August 26 at Saratoga Race Course, was undeterred with the step up in class and a sloppy and sealed main track under driving rain at Aqueduct Racetrack. The daughter of 2018 Triple Crown-winner Justify earned a “Win and You’re In” berth into the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on November 3 at Santa Anita Park.
Irish Maxima broke well from the inside post and led the six-horse field through an opening quarter-mile in 23.63 seconds and the half in 47.69 with Just F Y I tracking the speed under Junior Alvarado.
Approaching the turn, Alvarado initiated his charge’s move from the outside, going three-wide to take command and draw away in the stretch to complete eight furlongs in 1:37.59. Central Avenue finished strong with a surge up the rail under Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano for second, with Like Talk, Emery, Irish Maxima and Princess Indy completing the order of finish.
Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott won his second Frizette overall and first in 25 years, with Just F Y I joining Confessional in 1998 as winners Mott saddled in the prestigious race for 2-year-old fillies.
“[The track] was the big question and we didn’t know. You don’t know until you run them,” Mott said. “We thought she was a nice filly, and, in this day and age, I guess if you break your maiden impressively, you’re looking at going to a stakes race because there aren’t many allowance races.”
Krikorian and Mott had about as good of a half-hour stretch as a horse owner and trainer combination could ever hope, racking up Grade 1 wins in consecutive races with War Like Goddess winning the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic in Race 4 before Just F Y I gave him the double in Race 5.
“It’s very special. I couldn’t be more pleased. I’m ecstatic,” Krikorian said. “She [Just F Y I] had only run once before. Last time, she got to the lead right at the wire in that race. Going a longer distance, we were hopeful that distance was going to be helpful to her, which it turned out to be. With the bad weather and everything, you never know how the horses are going to do. She handled it all well and she handles everything well.”
Added Mott: “It’s very special. [Mr. Krikorian] has been a very good client and he sends me some horses that he thinks are going to be OK. I have a small group of horses for him, but they are all quite nice.”
Off at 9-2, Just F Y I returned $11.60 on a $2 win bet. She improved her career bankroll to $277,750.
“I was very happy with what I had under me the whole way around,” Alvarado said. “I was just hoping by the time I let her go, she wasn’t going to fool me. Right when I asked her, she started picking it up. She had that beautiful long stride. Right when she switched leads, I knew she would be OK turning for home. She finished up nice and strong.
“I rode her at Saratoga, and she ran a pretty good race,” Alvarado added. “We always knew that she would be a filly that would appreciate stretching out.”
Central Avenue was also a debut winner in August, posting a half-length victory at Colonial Downs for trainer Michael Stidham. The Street Sense filly bested Life Talk by a half-length for second in the black type effort.
“She ran well. I like the way she did it today,” Castellano said. “She was very professional going inside on the rail. I cut the corner and there was a lot of kickback coming from behind horses. She handled it really well. It was only the second start of her career and the way she handled the kickback was nice. With a little more distance, she’ll do well. I was satisfied.”
Live racing resumes Sunday at Belmont at the Big A with a nine-race card, featuring the Grade 2, $250,000 Beldame in Race 3, the Grade 3, $150,000 Futurity, a “Win and You’re In” for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, in Race 5, the Grade 3, $150,000 Noble Damsel in Race 7 and the Grade 3, $150,000 Matron in Race 8. First post is 12:35 p.m. Eastern.