This time, Riskaverse wins
ELMONT, N.Y. -- If at first you don't succeed, try again. That motto has worked twice for trainer Pat Kelly and owner Peter G. Schiff in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational.
When Kelly and Schiff won the Flower Bowl for the first time in 1992, it was on their second try with Christiecat. On Saturday at Belmont Park, Kelly and Schiff won the $750,000 Flower Bowl on their second try with Riskaverse.
Riskaverse was a three-quarter-length winner over Commercante in the Flower Bowl. Moscow Burning, the pacesetter in the 1 1/4-mile grass race, finished a head back in third.
Wonder Again, the 4-5 favorite, was always within striking distance, but failed to fire in the stretch and finished sixth, beaten two lengths, in the eight-horse field.
Riskaverse, ridden by Cornelio Velasquez, raced off the pace in fifth position down the backstretch. Moscow Burning controlled the pace through dawdling fractions of 25.45 seconds, 52.55, 1:17.85, and 1:41.55 over the yielding course.
Riskaverse came with a late rush in the final yards to grab the lead from Commercante and Moscow Burning. It was Riskaverse's first win at the distance in eight tries.
Riskaverse ($19.40) covered the 1 1/4 miles in 2:04.65.
Edgar Prado, who rode Wonder Again, didn't offer any excuses.
"There was a slow pace and we were right there," Prado said. "She hung in there at the half-mile pole. She felt fine at the three-eighths pole, and I thought I would have an extra gear at the top of the stretch, but I didn't."
Velasquez said he wanted to keep Riskaverse covered up until he let her run in the stretch.
"I put her behind horses and I had a lot of horse at the quarter pole," Velasquez said.
Kelly said that Riskaverse, who won her first race since November in the Flower Bowl, deserved the win. In last year's Flower Bowl, Riskaverse finished fifth
"After all the tough trips she had the last couple of years, it was kind of neat to get into the winner's circle," Kelly said. "It took us two tries with Christiecat."
After the race, Kelly wasn't eager to commit Riskaverse to the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, which will be run at 1 3/8 miles at Lone Star Park on Oct. 30.
"We've just been a little leery of the longer races," Kelly said.