Rising Star McKulick Secures Belmont Oaks Victory

McKulick Triumphs in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational

McKulick, an impressive filly named after Chad Brown’s former bookkeeper, Mary McKulick, had a remarkable victory at Belmont Park in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational. Trained by the renowned Chad Brown, McKulick is the offspring of the legendary sire Frankel. The significance of this win was magnified as it coincided with the birthday of the late Bobby Frankel, the Hall of Fame trainer who mentored Brown in the early stages of his career.

Brown’s Emotional Victory

With her first Grade 1 win on July 9th, McKulick’s success carried a deeper meaning for trainer Chad Brown. He expressed his sentiment by acknowledging the significance of the date, stating, “It’s an extra special win with it being Bobby Frankel’s birthday today. This horse is the first offspring of Frankel that I actually bought. (Owner) Seth Klarman was nice enough to let me name this filly after my very first employee after I left Frankel. That’s why I chose this horse, being by Frankel. And wouldn’t you know on his birthday, she wins a Grade 1. The irony and the importance of it today, his birthday, means everything to me personally.”

A Remarkable Journey to Victory

Prior to her triumph in the 1 ¼-mile Belmont Oaks Invitational, McKulick had a notable journey marked by consistent performances in graded stakes races. Although she finished in the money in all three previous graded stakes races, including a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Miss Grillo last October at Belmont Park, McKulick managed to elevate her performance significantly at three years old. Her Equibase Speed Figures surged from the low 80s to an impressive 103 in her two outings at Churchill Downs, showcasing her potential and readiness for a major victory.

A Career-Best Performance

McKulick’s breakthrough performance came in the Belmont Oaks Invitational. With jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard, McKulick achieved a career-best Equibase Speed Figure of 112, securing a 1 ¾-length victory over With The Moonlight. Brown’s other contender, Consumer Spending, finished closely behind in third place, completing the trifecta.

A Dominant Display of Speed

Maintaining a strategic position throughout the race, McKulick and Ortiz Jr. patiently waited for the opportune moment to make their move. As they approached the far turn, With The Moonlight took the lead, prompting Ortiz Jr. to make his decisive move. Riding four wide, McKulick unleashed her speed, gradually surging alongside With The Moonlight and ultimately taking the lead in the final moments of the race. Crossing the finish line in 1:59.62, McKulick not only emerged victorious but also showcased her exceptional speed, eclipsing the time set by Belmont Derby winner Classic Causeway in a subsequent race.

The Importance of Distance

Both Chad Brown and Irad Ortiz Jr. highlighted the significance of the extended distance in the Belmont Oaks Invitational. McKulick’s success in this 10-furlong race demonstrated her aptitude for longer distances and her potential for future accomplishments. This victory was the culmination of a meticulous plan as Brown expressed, “She was really born to run a mile and a quarter. We were patiently waiting for a long time to get her to this distance, and my whole team did a super job with this horse in all divisions this filly has been in throughout the year. She’s special and she finally got enough room to fully utilize that closing kick she has.”

Continuing the Pursuit in the NYRA Turf Triple Series

The Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational marked the beginning of the NYRA Turf Triple series for fillies. McKulick’s impressive victory has positioned her as a contender in the upcoming races. The next challenge awaits at Saratoga Race Course on August 7th with the 1 3/16-mile Grade 3 Saratoga Oaks. Following that, the series culminates with the 11-furlong Grade 3 Jockey Club Oaks Invitational during the Belmont Park Fall Meet.

Unique FAQs

  1. What is the significance of McKulick’s name?

    McKulick is named after Chad Brown’s former bookkeeper, Mary McKulick, as a tribute to her contributions to his career.

  2. Who was Bobby Frankel?

    Bobby Frankel was a Hall of Fame trainer who mentored Chad Brown. He is the late namesake of the sire Frankel, who is McKulick’s parent.

  3. What was the significance of McKulick’s victory coinciding with Frankel’s birthday?

    The win on Bobby Frankel’s birthday added an extra layer of emotional importance for trainer Chad Brown, emphasizing the bond between his personal journey and the success of McKulick.

  4. How did McKulick’s performance evolve at three years old?

    As a three-year-old, McKulick displayed significant improvement in her Equibase Speed Figures, suggesting her development and readiness for victory.

  5. What is next for McKulick?

    McKulick will continue her pursuit of success in the NYRA Turf Triple series for fillies, with upcoming races at Saratoga Race Course and Belmont Park Fall Meet.

In Conclusion

McKulick’s triumph in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational served as a testament to her talent, the significance behind her name, and the emotional connection between trainer Chad Brown and his mentor Bobby Frankel. With a compelling narrative and a remarkable display of speed, McKulick solidified her position as a rising star in the world of horse racing. As her journey continues in the NYRA Turf Triple series, the racing world eagerly awaits to see if McKulick will continue her winning streak and etch her name into racing history.

Doug I. Jones

Doug I. Jones

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