Another Stakes Victory for Hidden Brook Raised/Sold Fifty Five

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Maybe New York-bred Showcase Day should be renamed Javier Castellano Showcase Day. Castellano rallied Peter Brant’s four-year-old filly Fifty Five, the 4-5 favorite in the field of seven, to a one-length victory over La Moneda in the 1 1/16-mile $200,000 Ticonderoga Stakes on grass. That gave Castellano three consecutive wins Saturday at Belmont Park and all three were New York-bred stakes: the Mohawk with Offering Plan, the Hudson with Runaway Lute and the Ticonderoga with Fifty Five, his 5,001st career victory.

The 2018 New York-bred Showcase Day could also be subtitled the Hidden Brook Farm Showcase. Fifty Five was raised and sold by Hidden Brook Farm at the 2015 Fasig-Tipton October sale and is among the three Hidden Brook-associated Stakes winners and five Stakes horses on the card. Two races earlier Offering Plan (Sold & Hidden Brook South Grad) scored in the Mohawk Stakes and three races later Bankit (Foaled, Raised & Sold) got the money in the Sleepy Hollow Stakes. In the Maid of the Mist Stakes, Elegant Zip (Sold) and Kept True (Hidden Brook South Grad) finished 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

In the Ticonderoga, La Moneda, who went off at 3-1 seeking her fifth consecutive victory under Junior Alvarado, finished second, two lengths clear of 31-1 Conquest Hardcandy and Joe Bravo. Lady Joan, who was 9-1 with Luis Saez riding, finished fourth, 2 ½ lengths behind Conquest Hardcandy while a nose in front of 9-1 Munchkin Money and John Velazquez.

After the race, Castellano deflected the praise to Fifty Five’s trainer, Chad Brown. “She’s been doing really, really well lately,” Castellano said. “Chad’s done a great job maintaining the horse to be at her best. Believe me, I’m just the pilot. I just had to enjoy the ride. She finished well. I really like this filly.”

Empire Equines bred Fifty Five, a highly-accomplished daughter of Get Stormy out of Soave by Brahms. Fifty Five was coming off a two-length victory in the John Hettinger Stakes at 4-5 on Sept. 23rd and she went off at the same price Saturday. Why? She had only finished out of the money once in 15 races, all on grass.

“This horse is bigger and stronger this year and has done really well outside Saratoga,” Brown said. “Saratoga isn’t her favorite course for whatever reason.”

That was irrelevant on Saturday. At Belmont Park before the Ticonderoga, Fifty Five had three wins, two seconds and one third from seven starts.

Castellano settled Fifty Five in sixth early as 6-1 Lovely La La and Irad Ortiz Jr. set the pace with a clear lead over Conquest Hardcandy. La Moneda was fourth on the outside and Fifty Five not far behind her.

After a half-mile in :49.12, Conquest Hardcandy took the lead as La Moneda rallied three-wide and Fifty Five began her bid four-wide behind her.

Both La Moneda and Fifty Five cleared Conquest Hardcandy. La Moneda took a brief lead but couldn’t hold off Fifty Five, who struck the lead late and won in 1:42.21 on the “Good” Inner Turf Course.

Fifty Five is now seven-for-16 in her career with three seconds, five thirds and earnings topping $650,000.

-edited from www.nytbreeders.org, by Bill Heller