by Brian Bohl
Twin Creeks Racing Stables' Pure Silver handled a step up in class in the same victorious manner in which she made her debut, holding off I Still Miss You in the stretch to win the fourth running of the $100,000 Lynbrook for New York bred juvenile fillies on Sunday at Belmont Park.
Pure Silver went gate-to-wire to close the stakes schedule on Belmont's 54-day spring/summer meet, outdueling 1-5 favorite I Still Miss You to set early fractions of 23.01 seconds for a quarter-mile, with the half going in 46.82.
Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez kept Pure Silver near the rail as I Still Miss You made a late bid in deep stretch from the outside. But the Mission Impazible homebred outkicked the challenger to win her first stakes by 1 1/2 lengths, completing six furlongs in 1:11.40 on Big Sandy.
"We just broke good and got to the lead," Velazquez said. "I tried to save something for the end and she put in a good fight in the lane. She broke so fast, it was kind of weird. She was so fast, she was on the ground and in the next step, she's up and running. She got pressed and when she had to put in a fight, she did it all the way."
One of two entrants in the four-horse field for trainer Todd Pletcher, Pure Silver improved to 2-for-2 in her career, building off a 1 ½-length score in her debut on June 22 at Belmont. Off at 2-1, Pure Silver paid $6.20 on a $2 win wager, improving her career earnings to $97,200.
"After the last start, we knew she had the speed out of the gate and she showed it again today and she was able to hang on," said Byron Hughes, assistant to Pletcher. "We will see how she comes out of the race and from there it will be somewhere at Saratoga for sure."
I Still Miss You, who won her first two starts for trainer Jeremiah Englehart, including the Astoria last month at Belmont, was the runner-up in finishing 14 ½ lengths ahead of Pletcher trainee One Last Cast.
"She ran good. She was second best today," said jockey Javier Castellano. "I had the opportunity to go by and I just couldn't get by the other filly today. She was much the best. She dictated the pace and we set good fractions. We were rolling.
"You could see the separation from the other two horses in the race," he added [I'm] disappointed, I wish she would've won the race, but she ran good. She was really comfortable, she rated perfect, and she settled behind that horse. She did everything the right way except she couldn't get by that other horse. She's got a lot of potential and I give a lot of credit to the winner."
Northernstreetgal, making her stakes debut for trainer Gary Contessa, was fourth. Missbigtimes was scratched.