Maragh 7th in Belmont Stakes
ELMONT, New York (CMC):
Jamaican jockey Rajiv Maragh had to settle for seventh place in Saturday's prestigious Belmont Stakes, but scored a victory in the Just a Game Stakes, one of the support features on Belmont Park's biggest race meet of the year.
The 11-1 bet Summer Bird, ridden by Kent Desormeaux, won the US$1 million Belmont Stakes over a mile and a half as jockey Calvin Borel failed to achieve Triple Crown history with the favourite Mine That Bird.
Summer Bird covered the marathon trip in two minutes 27.54 seconds and won ahead of the front-running Dunkirk, with Mine That Bird third.
Earlier on the card, the 23-year-old Maragh registered an upset win in the US$400,000 Just a Game Stakes with the Britain-bred five-year-old mare Diamondrella.
On his first-ever Belmont Stakes riding assignment, Maragh held the 27-1 outsider Brave Victory in mid-pack for the first half of the race. Maragh moved Brave Victory forward leaving the far turn, but the effort fizzled at the top of the homestretch.
Desormeaux's well- measured ride aboard Summer Bird took the colt past Mine That Bird and Dunkirk in the closing stages and won by 2-3/4 lengths, sinking Borel's bid for glory.
"I made the lead at the 16th pole and I thought I was home free," Borel said after the race.
Just over two hours earlier, Maragh had used a ride similar to Desormeaux's Belmont effort to score with Diamondrella in the Just a Game Stakes.
An unfancied 10-1 bet in the one-mile event on turf, Diamondrella closed fast to win by 1-3/4 lengths in one minute 36.49 seconds at an attractive winning price of US$21.20.