Data Link gets up in course-record time in Monmouth
One day after guiding Union Rags to victory in the Belmont Stakes, jockey
John Velazquez capped his memorable weekend by engineering a course
record-setting win aboard Stuart S. Janney III's homebred Data Link in Sunday's
Grade 2, $200,000
Stakes. Velazquez was riding both for the first time in a race, and in both
cases, he conjured up a late run to prevail in the final yards.
|Data Link went last-to-first when rolling past Get Stormy
But the parallels end there. Data Link, the 3-5 favorite in the turf test at
Monmouth Park, dropped back to last early, and raced on the outside much of the
way. He blitzed 1 1/8 miles on firm turf in 1:45.93, establishing a new
course mark with the rail set at 0 feet. The old mark of 1:46.39 was established
by J'Ray on August 3, 2008.
The nine-year-old Presious Passion bounded to the early lead in hopes of
recovering past glory, and the 2009 Monmouth winner appeared happy enough as he
sped through fractions of :23 1/5 and :46 2/5.
Nearing the three-quarter mark, however, Presious Passion gave way. Get
Serious, who captured the 2010 running, and Get Stormy moved in tandem and soon
overtook him. Get Serious put his head in front through six furlongs in 1:10
1/5, but Get Stormy matched strides with him to the top of the stretch.
Get Stormy then mastered Get Serious and began to edge away, getting the mile
in 1:33 4/5. Meanwhile, Data Link had been stealthily advancing, and now played
his hand in earnest. Rallying strongly down the outside, the Shug McGaughey
trainee nailed Get Stormy to win going away by a length and paid $3.20, $2.20
"It was perfect," Velazquez said. "There was a lot of speed in the race and
he likes to come from behind. It just worked out perfect for us. All the speed
held up pretty well and when I pulled him outside at the quarter-pole, he
responded right away. It's easy when you ride this kind of horse."
"He's a pretty good horse," McGaughey said. "We got a little bit of a pace
and Johnny was patient with him and got him to relax. When he wheeled him out,
it was here we come."
Eddie Castro, Get Stormy's rider, credited the winner.
"I had to move about the five-eighths pole, which was sooner than I wanted to
go," Castro said. "He did everything right today -- the other horse just caught
Get Stormy was 1 1/4 lengths on top of Get Serious, who held third by a neck
from Mahubo. Next came Yummy with Butter, Presious Passion and Roman Tiger.
Freud's Honor was scratched.
Data Link, who earned his first stakes score two starts back in the Grade 1
Maker's 46 Mile at Keeneland, now sports a mark of 12-6-0-1, $451,335. Long well
regarded, the War Front colt won three in a row on turf over the fall and winter
of 2010-11, but unfortunately missed the heart of his three-year-old campaign
|Johnny V brings Data Link back to the winner's circle
Fourth in his comeback in last October's Shady Character Stakes on soft turf
at Belmont Park, Data Link rolled to an impressive third-level allowance score
at Gulfstream Park on December 4. He next tried graded company in the Grade 3
Canadian Turf at Gulfstream on March 3, closing for third on a speed-friendly
surface, and broke through in the April 13 Maker's 46 Mile. Data Link tried to
follow up in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on
Kentucky Derby Day, but wound up a rough-trip fifth in a race dominated by the
front-running Little Mike.
The Kentucky-bred Data Link is the second member of his immediate family to
earn a Grade 1 laurel in 2012. He is out of the stakes-winning Known Fact mare
Database, a full sister to stakes queen Vespers, the dam of Grade 1 Donn
Handicap hero Hymn Book.
Data Link, who is himself a half-brother to Challenger Stakes runner-up Wiki,
comes from the family of Grade 3 heroine Strike the Bell, Grade 2 winners Kumari
Continent and Roshani and multiple stakes scorers Citizen Advocate and Binalong.
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