Todd Pletcher, Rosie Napravnik enjoy stellar day at Belmont Park
Related mediaEvery winner of the Belmont Stakes Triple Crown near-misses since 1979 Triple Crown Winners Belmont Stakes memorable moments
For trainer Todd Pletcher, it was a milestone afternoon in a spectacular career. For Rosie Napravnik, who rode two Grade I winners, including 28-1 King David, it was "one of'' her best days ever.
Pletcher swept the Grade I Champagne and Frizette for 2-year-olds and moved into second on the all-time earnings list, and he still had to share the spotlight with Napravnik at breezy Belmont Park. They collaborated in the Champagne as Napravnik and 4-for-4 Shanghai Bobby ($5.30) dominated.
"Bobby was on his game today. He's gotten better and more mature with every start,'' Napravnik said. "I think he's going to continue to grow and exceed our expectations.''
Pletcher praised the colt's adaptability and tactical speed. "He has all of the tools,'' he said. "I'm not saying he's 'special' yet,'' he said, smiling. "I'll let you guys do that in the headlines.''
Shanghai Bobby's runaway was a pleasant contrast for Pletcher to the Frizette a half-hour earlier, when John Velazquez and Dreaming of Julia edged My Happy Face by a head after dueling from the top of the stretch. That's not how a horse who pays $2.30 is supposed to win, and Pletcher expressed concern about the battle.
"It was demanding, and with the [three] scratches it turned into a virtual match race,'' he said. "We were looking at it as a Breeders' Cup prep, so we hope she comes out of it well.''
The $480,000 haul from the Frizette and Champagne pushed Pletcher beyond $228 million and past the late Hall of Famer Bobby Frankel. Only D. Wayne Lukas, still very active at 77, leads Pletcher, who's 45.
"When you're in all the big races every weekend,'' Pletcher said, "sometimes you don't have time to reflect, but to be mentioned in that company is really special.''
Napravnik's shocker on King David ($58) in the Jamaica Handicap capped an outstanding day for trainer Mike Maker and his assistant, Joe Sharp, who happens to be Napravnik's husband. Shortly before King David surged late in the 11/8-mile turf stakes, Maker and Sharp enjoyed 8-1 Joha's wire-to-wire win in the Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland.
King David improved to 5-for-7 on grass, but he had never run in an allowance, let alone a Grade I. Maker claimed him for $35,000 Sept. 13; first time out for Scarlet Stable, he cashed for $240,000. Nice score.