One of the great things about this time of year is the long days and the starry nights. Oftentimes, the June sky will be full of stars, but as we all are aware, some just shine brighter than others.
The Belmont Stakes racing festival was very much like one of those June nights. Stars everywhere on a card that featured nine graded stakes races on Saturday, June 10. At the end of this 13-race extravaganza with many glistening performances, one runner was perhaps a bit more Alpha Centauri-like than the others.
Caravel has recently become a superstar in the turf sprint world. Running out of the Brad Cox barn, this six-year-old daughter of Mizzen Mast made herself known with an impressive gate-to-wire win in the 2022 Breeders’ Cup turf Sprint at Keeneland. What made that effort so impressive was she beat the boys at odds of 42-1. Going into the grade 1 Jaipur Stakes at Belmont Park, Caravel had won two more races including the grade 2 Shakertown, also against males. Could she continue her magnificence against another field of males? A little more than a minute and seven seconds after the gates opened we got our answer.
Breaking alertly as she normally does, the fleet-footed female ran just off the pace-setting Nothing Better through solid opening fractions (22.19 opening quarter, half-mile 44.8). Full of run at the top of the stretch, Caravel surged to the lead with ease and sprinted for the wire. Holding off a late charge from Big Invasion and defending race champion Casa Creed, Caravel bested 13 boys by ¾ of a length.
For those scoring at home, the Jaipur marked her fifth consecutive win, sixth in her last seven starts, and fifteenth score from twenty-three lifetime starts. In other words, if Caravel is running…wear your sunglasses.