Struggling to find racing room around the far turn, Colby Hernandez managed to guide 7-5 second choice Change of Control to a small seam between horses and was rewarded with a drawing away victory in Thursday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Intercontinental Stakes at Belmont Park. It was the first graded stakes win for the 5-year-old daughter of Fed Biz, trained by Michelle Lovell on behalf of owner Perry Harrison.
Change of Control ran seven furlongs over the “good” turf in 1:22.07, defeating Piedi Bianchi by 1 1/2 lengths on the wire.
“This mare has been incredibly special to us,” Lovell said. “She tries so hard every time she runs and has been in top form this year. Colby [Hernandez] got her into a great spot early and she was able to relax behind the pace. Into the stretch, it looked like Colby had a ton of horse and when she was able to get outside, she really showed her stride late. This is a great win for everyone involved.”
I’llhandalthecash was quickest out of the gate to lead by just over a length down the backstretch, with Piedi Bianchi hovering on the outside in second through fractions of :23.64 and :49.40. Change of Control stayed on the inside in third, while favored Publication broke a step slowly and was last early.
Change of Control was shuffled back a bit around the far turn, behind a three-way battle for the lead, but the eventual winner was loaded for bear and hunting room to run.
Hernandez finally saw the seam between rivals and swung Change of Control toward the outside. Change of Control responded gamely and dug in toward the wire, pulling away to win by 1 1/2 lengths over Piedi Bianchi. Madeline Must ran third over I’llhandalthecash, with 6-5 favorite Publication finishing fifth and last.
“When she broke, she broke sharply,” said Hernandez, who was celebrating his first graded stakes win. “She left there well, and I had to get on her a little bit. After that, I was just able to sit on her. All I needed was daylight and she kicked on.”
Bred in Kentucky by John O’ Meara, Change of Control is out of the stakes-placed Quiet American mare America’s Blossom. A $95,000 yearling at OBS, Change of Control has accumulated a record of 7-6-5 from 27 starts with earnings of over $550,000.
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