Flavien Prat, the top rider in California, keeps proving time and time again that he is a top rider anywhere.
The French-born jockey, who won the 2019 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) on Country House via the disqualification of Maximum Security , added another Classic victory this year when he piloted Rombauer to victory in the Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course May 15. Then on June 3, as Belmont Stakes week began, he kept up the stakes momentum going this spring by guiding Con Lima to a half-length victory over Plum Ali in the $200,000 Wonder Again Stakes (G3T) over a good Belmont Park turf course.
It could be the start of a rewarding week for the jockey in New York. He has eight stakes mounts at Belmont in the coming days, including Hot Rod Charlie in the June 5 Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1).
“As of right now, my year is going really well,” Prat said. “Hopefully, we can do it all the way around until the end of the year. We’ll see.”
Con Lima wins the Wonder Again Stakes at Belmont Park
The Wonder Again was a story of trips. Con Lima had a good one, and runner-up Plum Ali did not. Initially keen, Con Lima was able to draft behind a slow pace along the inside, stalking fractions of :25.42, :51.49, and 1:17.89 set by stablemate Jouster in the 1 1/8-mile grass race, before angling out and surging to victory. Plum Ali, on the other hand, would have needed to pass the entire field to win after taken back to ninth from her outside post. Plum Ali still made the finish relatively tight in the race for 3-year-old fillies.
“She was closing better than everyone else; we just didn’t get the trip,” said Plum Ali’s jockey, Joel Rosario.
Favored Gift List ran third, three-quarters of a length behind the runner-up, and 1 3/4 lengths of weakening Jouster.
The winner, a daughter of 2014 Belmont Stakes runner-up Commissioner, ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.84. She paid $18.60 to win.
Thursday’s victory was her fourth stakes win following scores in the Honey Ryder Stakes, Herecomesthebride Stakes (G3T), and Ginger Brew Stakes, all at Gulfstream Park. All of those black-type victories for owners Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Joseph Graffeo, Eric Nikolaus Del Toro, and Troy Johnson came after Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher shifted her from dirt to turf.
“She didn’t seem to mind the turf. It’s encouraging to see that she might stay a mile and a quarter,” said Pletcher, who also saddled Jouster. “We knew Jouster was the quicker of the two, so I told Flavien to just stalk her and it worked out well. She kicked on. She’s shown she can do it both ways now.”
Pletcher won the Wonder Again for the second consecutive year after Sweet Melania ‘s front-running triumph in 2020.
A winner of six of 11 races and $379,865, Con Lima was bred in Texas by Lisa Kuhlmann. She is out of the stakes-winning Consolidator mare Second Street City . Con Lima fell short of her reserve for $22,000 when consigned by Niall Brennan Stables to the Ocala Breeders’ Sales March Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training.
Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners became a co-owner in the filly after her second start, a 5 1/4-length maiden win at Gulfstream last summer, after which she was turned over to Pletcher.