Whatlovelookslike all heart in $125K Port Washington
by Keith McCalmont
Whatlovelookslike made her stakes debut a winning one under a sharp ride by Flavien Prat in Tuesday’s inaugural running of the $125,000 Port Washington, a 1 1/16-mile inner turf test for older New York-bred fillies and mares, at Belmont Park.
Trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, the 4-year-old Barry Schwartz homebred daughter of English Channel proved resilient in the stretch run to fend off 1-5 mutuel favorite Runaway Rumour and the late rail run of Golden Rocket to secure the 1 3/4-length win.
"She did well,” said Bryon Hughes, Pletcher’s New York-based assistant. “She broke sharp for Flavien and he got her in a comfortable position on the front end and she was able to hold off the favorite and the horse to the inside of her. She trains well in the mornings and is always pretty competitive in her workouts."
Whatlovelookslike broke alertly but conceded the lead to the slow-starting Freddymo Factor, who took the compact four-horse field through splits of 24.68 seconds and 50.57 over the yielding turf with Jason Huayas up.
The multiple graded-stakes placed Runaway Rumour advanced outside rivals heading into the turn through three-quarters in 1:15.53 as Whatlovelookslike maintained her prominent position.
Whatlovelookslike and Runaway Rumour engaged in the center of the course as the field straightened away for the stretch run with the Jose Gomez-piloted Golden Rocket making an inside rush at the leaders. Whatlovelookslike was able to put away Runaway Rumour at the three-sixteenths and stayed on strong to the wire to stop the clock in a final time of 1:45.37. Golden Rocket completed the exacta by 1 1/2-lengths over Runaway Rumour with Freddymo Factor rounding out the order of finish. Sanura and main-track only entrant Sunset Louise were scratched.
Prat, who secured his third win aboard Whatlovelookslike, said his charge was traveling comfortably throughout.
“When I hit the first turn, I thought, ‘Perfect.’ I was comfortable and on the lead,” Prat said. “And then the four [Freddymo Factor] got a little rank and hooked up with me. I couldn’t go around him [Huayas], so I decided to stay on his inside and it felt like the pace wasn’t strong, so I could keep myself in there. She was happy, so at the end it turned out good.”
It was the second stakes score of the meet for Prat, who said his filly relished the challenge from Franco aboard Runaway Rumour.
“He did put a head in front, but when you ask her to move, it usually takes her a while to get going,” Prat said. “I felt like if I could engage her with Manny’s filly, she could give me an extra gear.”
Jose Gomez said he was content to sit off the pace.
“It was a short field and I knew the five [Whatlovelookslike] had some speed,” Gomez said. “The other horses are a little quicker than her [Golden Rocket], so I tried to sit close to them. She gave me her run, just second best today.”
Whatlovelookeslike, who arrived off a game half-length score against fellow state-breds in a one-mile optional-claiming event here on May 26 over firm going, boasts a perfect in-the-money record of 3-2-0-1 over the Belmont green.
Potential options for the talented chestnut at the upcoming Saratoga Race Course meet include the one-mile restricted $135,000 De La Rose on August 2 or the 1 1/16-mile state-bred $200,000 Yaddo Handicap on August 27.
“We'll see how she comes out of and I'm sure Todd will come up with a plan with Barry Schwartz,” Hughes said.
Whatlovelookslike, out of the Proud Citizen mare Jonata, is a half-sister to graded-stakes placed Stonewall Star and multiple stakes-winner La Fuerza. She banked $68,750 in victory while improving her record to 10-4-3-1. She returned $6.10 for a $2 win bet.
Live racing resumes Friday at Belmont Park with a 10-race card featuring the Grade 3, $250,000 Manila in Race 9. First post is 1:05 p.m. Eastern.
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