Deja vu, times two.
Trainer James Toner had his top three-year-old turf filly Time and Motion ready to roll again in the $200,000 Wonder Again Stakes, which was yet another stakes race named for one of his past Grade 1 winners. Time and Motion had won the Memories of Silver Stakes earlier in the meet, which was another wonder mare trained by Toner. Against a much bigger field on Sunday, would the blaze-faced daughter of Tapit prevail again?
Yes, as it turns out. She would.
Sent off as the third betting choice at 3-1, John Velazquez turned on the afterburners late to pilot Time and Motion to victory over 5-2 favorite Harmonize, who was coming off a third-place finish in the Edgewood Stakes (III) at Churchill Downs last month for trainer Bill Mott. Sitting just behind the pace most of the way set by Taralena, Time and Motion kicked into gear coming down the stretch but she wasn’t firing alone– along with her, Harmonize was also beginning to roll as were Chad Brown trainees Last Waltz [IRE] and Grey Stark. Racing six paths wide, the final eighth of a mile decided the stretch duel between Harmonize and Time and Motion, with the latter prevailing by 1/2 length to cement herself as a top turf contender.
Jockey John Velazquez, who also rode Time and Motion to her win in the Memories of Silver Stakes at Aqueduct as well as her maiden special weight victory at Gulfstream, praised the filly’s talents after the race. “She can run all day. You wish every horse you ride can be like her. I didn’t want to be too far back with her and she broke really nice. Once my horse switched lanes, she responded right away. By the eighth pole, I started getting the momentum going and she got her stride together. She gives you a little confidence because you can put her wherever you want.”
Currently undefeated this year with three wins in three starts, it looks as though J.J. Toner has another excellent turf filly on his hands as does owner Phillips Racing Partnership, who also campaigned multiple Grade 1 winner Winter Memories with the Toner team. Toner has confirmed the filly’s next big target is the $1 million Belmont Oaks (I) on July 9.
The final time for the 1 1/8 mile race on the inner turf course, which was graded as firm before a soaking rainstorm rolled in afterwards, was 1:47.48. Backers of Time and Motion enjoyed returns of $9.20, $5.00, and $3.60.
The final order of finish following Time and Motion and runner-up Harmonize was Last Waltz [IRE], Grey Stark, Taralena, Elysea’s World, Gioai Stella, Mo d’Amour, Verbouwen, and Enjoy Yourself.
New York Racehorse listed its “Best Bets of the Week” for this race, listing Grey Stark (4th) as the value pick over Time and Motion (1st).
Image courtesy of NYRA/Chelsea Durand.