The Wonder Again (G3) commemorates a high-class turf mare, but the stakes name took on new meaning after Thursday’s $194,000 renewal at Belmont Park. Newspaperofrecord was expected to rebound from her comeback loss in the Edgewood (G3), but the Chad Brown star turned in an eerily similar effort in second, this time overhauled by stablemate Cambier Parc. Fans are now left to “wonder again” about Newspaperofrecord’s form.
Unbeatable at two with romps in the Miss Grillo (G3) and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1), Newspaperofrecord theoretically might not have as much scope for development this season. Yet her pedigree would beg to differ, not only being by Lope de Vega, but also with a productive dam’s side including last year’s Irish Derby (G1) hero Latrobe and recent Oaks (G1) near-misser Pink Dogwood.
Another hypothesis is that Newspaperofrecord was flattered by yielding ground in her three outings as a juvenile. Although she caught a “good” course in the Edgewood, Brown believed she wasn’t fully cranked. Newspaperofrecord raced for the first time on a firm course on the Wonder Again, and it’s possible that she can’t capitalize to the same extent on a quicker surface.
But Newspaperofrecord was bowling along happily enough for most of the way. Tugging on jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. through splits of :23.96, :48.58, and 1:12.48 on the inner turf, she cornered for home with authority and accelerated to reach the mile in 1:35.07.
In a final furlong reminiscent of the Edgewood, however, Newspaperofrecord went from good-looking leader, to sitting duck, very quickly. Cambier Parc is no slouch herself, having won the March 2 Herecomesthebride (G3) before a fourth in the Edgewood, and she was traveling smartly into contention from a couple of lengths back.
Under Irad’s brother Jose Ortiz, the 5-1 chance mowed down Newspaperofrecord to score handily by 1 1/4 lengths. There was a four-length gap back to Kelsey’s Cross in third, trailed by Chocolate Kisses and Blonde Moment. Nonsensical was entered as a main-track-only.
OXO Equine’s Cambier Parc was entitled to thrive on the step up to 1 1/8 miles, as a daughter of Medaglia d’Oro and 2007 Canadian Horse of the Year Sealy Hill. Indeed, she did, zipping in a final time of 1:46.34.
Newspaperofrecord quickened well herself, reeling off her last furlong in :11.49 according to Trakus. But Cambier Parc simply had a superior turn of foot in :11.08.
The trip stretched Newspaperofrecord. Her juvenile wins came at 1 1/16 miles, but if she were more advanced and able to cope with the ground better than others, circumstances would have aided her cause. If so, it was likely more than just fitness telling in the Edgewood. An improved Concrete Rose turned the tables on a better surface. Newspaperofrecord obviously remains capable in the 8 1/2- or nine-furlong range, but her two starts this term show that a progressive rival has the advantage late.
While Cambier Parc should advance to the July 6 Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1), Newspaperofrecord hasn’t performed like one looking to stretch out for the 1 1/4-mile feature. Brown might well opt to cut her back in distance.
Another plus in shortening up is the pace. Newspaperofrecord is liable to settle better behind a presumably stronger tempo, and that would help conserve energy whether at a mile or 1 1/16 miles.
Newspaperofrecord’s dam reinforces the idea of stamina limitations. The Holy Roman Emperor mare Sunday Times captured the seven-furlong Sceptre (G3) at Doncaster and missed by only a half-length in the 2011 Cheveley Park (G1). Sunday Times is also responsible for Classical Times, a stakes-winning and Group 3-placed sprinter in Great Britain.
Cambier Parc’s dam, Sealy Hill, took home three Sovereign Awards for her 2007 campaign. Sweeping the three Canadian fillies’ classics that comprise the Triple Tiara, the daughter of Point Given was also runner-up in the E.P. Taylor (G1), and voted champion three-year-old filly and turf female along with Horse of the Year. At four, she was third in the E.P. Taylor and runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1).
Sealy Hill has produced a Sovereign Award winner in Hillaby, Canada’s champion female sprinter of 2014, and Grade 3 scorers Belle Hill and Gale Force. Cambier Parc is her fourth graded winner.
Bred by Bonne Chance Farm in Kentucky, Cambier Parc sold for $1.25 million as a Keeneland September yearling. The bay has earned $242,460 from her 5-3-0-0 line. Fourth in her debut over a muddy Aqueduct November 3, she broke her maiden next out on the Gulfstream Park turf and added the Herecomesthebride. The rain-affected course in the Edgewood didn’t suit as she wound up fourth.
Quotes from Belmont Park
Winning jockey Jose Ortiz: “She broke good and relaxed nicely. Nobody else could keep up by the quarter pole and I got an easy, perfect trip. At the top of the stretch, I didn’t know if I was going to get there because Newspaperofrecord is a really good filly, but when I saw that she didn’t get away from me, I thought I had a shot passing the eighth pole. In the last eighth of a mile, my filly was just better.”
Trainer Chad Brown on his exacta: “I’m not surprised Cambier Parc ran this well. That’s why we had her in the race. She’s a much better horse on firm ground. That race at Churchill didn’t do her any justice. She has the bloodlines to do it. Her mother was second in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf. As you saw today, she’s an up-and-comer in this division.”
On the beaten favorite: “Newspaperofrecord was disappointing. She couldn’t stay a mile and an eighth today. I thought Irad (Ortiz Jr.) did all right today. She’s always going to be a horse that tugs along on the front end. I thought the fractions were fair though. I have to believe the turf was drying out well. I didn’t see any excuse for the trip she got, or the fractions. The only thing I would say about her is what I’d like to see next time against a bigger field if we go on to the Belmont Oaks. I would like to see her have someone to follow deeper into the stretch.”
A Brown favorite with Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard – Significant Form – did win the other turf stakes on the card, the $200,000 Intercontinental (G3) for older distaffers. Dispatched at 2-1 in her reappearance, the Stephanie Seymour Brant colorbearer scythed through the field get up by a cozy half-length.
Runner-up Fire Key was ridden by Jose Ortiz, so the brothers fought out the finish again in reverse order. Fire Key’s neck was the margin preventing another Brown exacta, with his Stella Di Camelot third. Broadway Fun rounded out the superfecta in a blanket finish.
Significant Form, who had been second as the odds-on favorite in last year’s Wonder Again, appreciated the turnback to seven furlongs. The gray snapped a losing skid while clocking 1:19.83 on the firm Widener turf, just a few ticks off A Lot’s course record of 1:19.23.
The winner of the 2017 Miss Grillo (G3) and fourth in that season’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, Significant Form dominated her sophomore bow in the 2018 Memories of Silver, but hadn’t won since. After her Wonder Again reverse, she was fourth in the Belmont Oaks, fifth in the Lake Placid (G2), and fourth in the off-the-turf Winter Memories at Aqueduct in November. Her scorecard stands at 9-3-1-0, $466,865.
Significant Form was bred by Brereton C. Jones in Kentucky. First sold for $75,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling, she commanded $575,000 as an OBS April juvenile. The four-year-old is a Creative Cause half-sister to Grade 3 winner Hay Dakota (by Haynesfield). Their dam, the unraced Harlan’s Holiday mare Church by the Sea, is herself a half to Grade 2 heroine Hello Liberty (runner-up in the 2006 Acorn [G1]) and Grade 3-placed stakes scorer Pious Ashley.
Quotes from Belmont Park
Winning rider Irad Ortiz Jr: “I had so much horse, so I knew that whatever hole I could make, I was going to get through. I just waited there and was patient and tried to make the right decision with her. It worked out well.”
Brown: “She ran really well. We’ve been wanting to cut her back for a while and we got the perfect opportunity to do so. Irad rode a great race and luckily it all worked out for her. She’s really filled out going from three to four. I was commenting to my assistant in the paddock when I put the saddle on her that we put a size bigger girth on her today. The time off has really done her a world of good.
“On paper, it looks like she’s run her best races fresh and with the pace that was set in front of her, she was finally not pulling against the rider. It was really the trip I was looking for. We had a plan and it worked out well.”
In the $150,000 Astoria for two-year-old fillies, Maryanorginger spotted the field not only racing experience as the lone debutante, but a head start after she took a dip at the break. While the Jeremiah Englehart pupil quickly regained her stride, jockey Jorge Vargas Jr. had to ease her back from a crowded spot on the rail. So the 3-1 chance ended up rallying from well off the pace to overturn 6-5 favorite Perfect Alibi in 1:03.94 for 5 1/2 fast-track furlongs.
Maryanorginger, purchased by Gold Square for $190,000 at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July, opened her account with $87,000. The Strong Mandate filly is out of the Vindication mare Timetobegone, a half-sister to Grade 2 winner Icecoldbeeratreds and multiple Cal-restricted stakes victress Controlled, herself the dam of Canadian champion Bear Now.
Quotes from Belmont Park
Winning rider Jorge Vargas Jr.: “I stayed calm (after she stumbled) because she was taking dirt so good. When she got clear, she was long gone. I think she’s going to appreciate more distance. I hadn’t been on her before, but Mr. Englehart told me she was a nice filly. I was pretty confident in her.”
Winning trainer Jeremiah Englehart: “The first time out it’s really not the way you want to start against winners, but she’s really been professional. Other than a little rear up in the paddock, she’s been really good and really smart. I was actually targeting a turf race, but everyone at the barn was telling me do dirt. And Al (Gold, winning owner) likes to run his horses the first time on dirt. And I said, ‘all right.’ We took a shot and it paid off.”