Hidden Brook-Raised Millionaire Fifty Five Notches Another NY Stakes Victory

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Peter Brant's Fifty Five held off a game inside bid from three-time winner Classic Lady and got her nose down on the wire in a dramatic edition of the $100,000 Mount Vernon over the Widener Turf Course at Belmont Park. 

The Chad Brown-trained 6-year-old bay mare by Get Stormy made her 2020 bow in the 42nd running of the one mile event for New York-bred fillies and mares. She last raced when taking the Ticonderoga in October over Belmont's inner turf.

Fifty Five broke well from her inside post and took back in fifth while Fetching controlled the pace producing a leisurely opening quarter-mile in 24.74 seconds and a half in 49.75, one length to the better of War Canoe in second.

Approaching the quarter pole around the far turn, Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano gave Fifty Five her cue and tipped the millionaire mare four-wide as she made her winning bid.

As she powered her way to the front, Fifty Five was challenged by a stubborn Classic Lady to her inside as the two battled out the final half-furlong hitting the wire in tandem. The graded-stakes winner would not be denied as she put her nose on the wire in front in a final time of 1:36.45 seconds on the turf course rated firm.

Classic Lady was 1 ¼ lengths to the better of War Canoe who finished third. Munchkin Money, Kreesie and Fetching rounded out the order of finish. Niko's Dream was scratched.

Returning $3.00 as the 1-2 favorite, Fifty Five became the first dual winner of the Mount Vernon since Gitchie Goomie won back-to-back editions in 2011-12. Thursday afternoon's win was a ninth stakes triumph for the talented Fifty Five, seven of which took place against fellow Empire State natives. When facing open company, Fifty Five won the Grade 3 Florida Oaks in 2017 and took the Plenty of Grace last April at Aqueduct.

Brown, leading trainer at the Belmont spring/summer meet, racked up a fifth stakes triumph this season.

Castellano, who piloted his fourth horse to a stakes victory this meet, praised his charge for overcoming several circumstances of adversity.

"She's such a great filly the way she does this every time," Castellano said. "What's most impressive is that she did it off the layoff, at a shorter distance and no pace - three things against her - and still she did it against good horses. I give all the credit to her and Mr. Brown for a high-level performance. I just enjoyed the ride."

The Mount Vernon was a 12th lifetime win in 23 starts for Fifty Five who pushed her bankroll to $1,088,288 after cashing $55,000 in victory. She is among the many good ones raised at Hidden Brook Farm.

"She knows where the wire is and she makes me look good," Castellano said. "I'm the pilot and I have to time it right. But with three things against her today - layoff, shorter distance and slow pace - she should have got beat today, but she's such a good horse with a good heart. The way she did it today was amazing."

Gallant in defeat, jockey Joel Rosario aboard Classic Lady spoke volumes of his filly's hard-fought effort.

"Tough beat. She tried really hard," Rosario said. "We got to the rail and I thought we were going to get there, but the horse on the outside [Fifty Five] made a tremendous run. She was fighting hard, we just got beat at the wire."

Bred in New York by Empire Equines, Fifty Five is out of the Brahms broodmare Soave.

- edited from www.horseracingnation.com