Alterite catches Discreet Marq to win G1 Garden City
By Phil Janack | 09/14/2013 07:51 PM ET
Making her North American debut, Martin Schwartz's Alterite rallied behind moderate fractions to catch favored leader Discreet Marq in deep stretch and pull clear to win the Grade 1, $500,000 Garden City on Saturday at Belmont Park.
Purchased privately following the final race of her juvenile season last fall in France, where she was bred, Alterite came to the United States shortly after finishing sixth in the Group 1 French Oaks on June 16.
Trained in France by Jean-Claude Rouget, the 3-year-old daughter of Literato (FR) had been working steadily for her American unveiling with trainer Chad Brown, who captured last year's Garden City with Samitar.
"I think she ran terrific," said Brown. "She looks great. She came over to me in real good shape from her previous trainer, and she just settled in beautifully. Each week she's been here, she's adapted more. She's a high-strung horse, and I thought she handled herself in the race very well. She should improve from here."
Under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, Alterite settled in fourth behind a relaxed pace set by Grade 1 winner Discreet Marq, who led the 11-horse field through a quarter-mile in 25.35 seconds, a half in 50.78, and six furlongs in 1:15.49.
Discreet Marq and jockey Garrett Gomez were still in front by a half-length turning for home, with Velazquez moving Alterite out three wide to mount a challenge. The two horses arrived at the eighth pole together before Alterite surged ahead to hit the wire 1 ½ lengths in front.
Alterite ran the 1 1/8 miles on the firm inner turf course in 1:50.55, returning $8 for a $2 win bet as the 3-1 second choice. Discreet Marq, favored at 5-2, held on for second, a nose in front of fast-closing Concise.
Watsdachances, also trained by Brown, Summer of Fun, Precarious, Caroline Thomas, Emollient, With Sugar On Top and Praia completed the order of finish.
"She had been training quite well; the thing I was concerned about was the firm ground," Brown said. "We did get some rain, I was happy to see, a couple of days ago, but with how windy it's been, and clear, I thought it dried out too much. Based on what I read, and based on what I've heard from her previous trainer, she prefers soft ground.
"She ran terrific today, but I've got to tell you, I don't think firm is her preferred surface," he added. "If she can catch a little more give in the ground, she's probably even more effective."
A New York-bred daughter of Discreet Cat, Discreet Marq had her three-race win streak snapped. She carried co-highweight of 122 pounds in the Garden City, six more than Alterite.
"She ran a good race, but Mr. Brown's filly ran a better race; that's the problem," said trainer Christophe Clement, who trains Discreet Marq for owner Patricia Generazio. "My filly ran great. She was just second-best; it happens. When I saw the fractions, I was very, very happy. She ran a great race; we just got beat today. We had to give the winner quite a bit of weight, but we'll be back."
The victory was the fourth in 10 career starts for Alterite, who collected $300,000 to push her lifetime bankroll to $508,797. She was third by a neck in the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac to close her 2012 season, and this year was second by a nose in the Group 1 Saint Alary in May.
"I'm very happy," Schwartz said. "She got beat three inches in the Saint Alary and was the only horse to run in all three legs of the French triple crown for fillies. Mr. Brown has quite a way with the European horses. She'll stay a mile and a quarter as she did in France. The sky's the limit, as they say."