Four-time Group 1 winner Rushing Fall returned to business with her latest black-type victory in front of a deserted grandstand at Belmont Park on Wednesday.
More Than Ready’s current star mare christened the return of racing in New York with a two-length score in the Beaugay Stakes Gr.3 on turf over 1700m. Jumping straight to the front for Javier Castellano, she turned back the persistent challenge of arch rival Got Stormy to post her 8th Stakes win in 12 starts.
“We were on pins and needles,” owner Bob Edwards said. “Got Stormy is a formidable foe. Then on the turn, Javier hit the gas and she peeled away. I was glad to see him gear her down and let her coast out and save something in the tank. She’s matured really well.”
Rushing Fall (5m More Than Ready – Autumnal by Forestry) cost $320,000 at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Yearling Sale and the Beaugay sent her earnings past $2million. Her next Group 1 assignment will be the Just a Game Stakes (1600m) at Belmont Park on June 27 or the Jenny Wiley Stakes (1700m) at Keeneland on July 11.
She won both last year but that’s not an option now that the summer racing schedule has been compressed due to COVID-19. “She has the mind of a champion,” Edwards added. “She’s gifted but she has determination, too. She’s an unbelievable mare.”
Hall of Fame rider Castellano has piloted Rushing Fall in all 12 starts and Wednesday’s victory helped him put aside a difficult time in which he was diagnosed and quarantined with coronavirus. “I’m so happy to be here and back on her. She put me right where I wanted to be and was so relaxed.
“Rushing Fall is one of the best horses in the country. I think we are going to have a lot of fun with her this year.”
Even without fans in attendance, wagering turnover for the Beaugay meeting was a record $10.97million which eclipsed first-day handle from the 2010 spring-summer season.
Rushing Fall is one of 24 Group 1 winners by Vinery legend More Than Ready and his 2yo colt Saffiano steps up to the elite level in this Saturday’s J J Atkins Stakes at Eagle Farm.