By Brian Bohl
ELMONT, N.Y. – A cutback in distance paid dividends for Stephanie Seymour Brant’s Significant Form, who returned from a layoff of more than six months to win her first career start in a sprint, capturing the sixth running of the Grade 3, $200,000 Intercontinental on Thursday, Opening Day of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, at Belmont Park.
Off as the 2-1 favorite, Significant Form was covered up in the sixth position as New York-bred Fire Key led the nine-horse field through an opening quarter-mile in 23.03 seconds and the half in 45.99 on the firm Widener turf course.
Significant Form, one of three entrants for trainer Chad Brown, was patiently ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr. out of the turn, finding daylight towards the inside. Set down in the final furlong, the 4-year-old Creative Cause filly surged between horses, first overtaking Broadway Run to her outside and then outkicking Fire Key, positioned near the rail, by a half-length, completing seven furlongs in a final time of 1:19.83.
“She ran really well. We’ve been wanting to cut her back for a while and we got the perfect opportunity to do so,” said Brown, who won his second graded stakes on the day after his horses Cambier Parc and Newspaperofrecord ran 1-2 in the Grade 3, $200,000 Wonder Again in Race 3. “Irad rode a great race and luckily it all worked out for her. She’s really filled out going from three to four. I was commenting to my assistant in the paddock when I put the saddle on her that we put a size bigger girth on her today. The time off has really done her a world of good.
Making her first start since running fourth in the Winter Memories in November at Aqueduct Racetrack, Significant Form specialized in routes during her juvenile and sophomore campaigns, going 2-1-0 in eight starts ranging from one mile to 1 1/8 miles.
Cutting back to seven-eighths of a mile in her 2019 bow, the Kentucky-bred who was purchased for $575,000 at the 2017 Ocala Breeders’ Sale improved to 2-1-0 in four starts at Belmont.
“On paper, it looks like she’s run her best races fresh and with the pace that was set in front of her, she was finally not pulling against the rider,” Brown said. “It was really the trip I was looking for. We had a plan and it worked out well.”
Significant Form returned $6.90 on a $2 win wager. She improved her career bankroll to $466,865.
“I had so much horse, so I knew that whatever hole I could make, I was going to get through,” Ortiz, Jr. said. “I just waited there and was patient and tried to make the right decision with her. It worked out well.”
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