November 30, 2023

Homerique bests Competitionofideas again in New York

Homerique and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. hold on to take the New York Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park on June 7, 2019 (c) O'Leary

Peter M. Brant’s Homerique outkicked stablemate Competitionofideas in their mutual reappearance in the Beaugay (G3) May 11, and the identical Chad Brown exacta held sway in Friday’s $600,000 New York (G2).

Only this time, the trips were reversed, and Homerique was the one navigating an inside passage while Competitionofideas swooped out wide. But regardless of positioning, in both the 1 1/16-mile Beaugay and the 1 1/4-mile New York, Homerique had the measure of the “other Brown.”

The pace was slow in both as well, putting a premium on Homerique’s turn of foot. After Lady Montdore went forward through an opening quarter in :25.24 on the firm inner course, an eager Giant Zinger sliced between foes to take over and posted splits of :50.45, 1:14.69, and 1:37.96.

Homerique was reserved in fifth, initially racing on the outside before Irad Ortiz Jr. altered path to the inner route. The even-money favorite was pocketed while creeping closer on the far turn, but when a seam opened between Giant Zinger and Lady Montdore, Homerique seized the chance.

Meanwhile, Competitionofideas, last early, was already in full flight on the outside. Just when the 3-1 second choice appeared on the verge of striking the front, Homerique quickened on the spot. Competitionofideas went with the favorite, but could not go past her. Homerique found a little extra to prevail by a half-length in a final time of 2:00.60.

Brown celebrated a graded turf stakes exacta for the second straight day, after Cambier Parc and Newspaperofrecord ran one-two in Thursday’s Wonder Again (G3). And he nearly did it again in the Intercontinental (G3), where Significant Form prevailed and Stella Di Camelot was third.

Competitionofideas did well trying to give Homerique four pounds, and the 123-pound highweight was easily best of the rest. Semper Sententiae reported home another 3 1/4 lengths back in third, edging the unlucky Holy Helena.

Although it’s doubtful that Holy Helena would have mixed it up with the top two, she was shut off behind a wall of horses in upper stretch, had to check off heels, and came around belatedly to miss third by a head. Vexatious checked in fifth, followed by Matty’s Magnum, Giant Zinger, and Lady Montdore.

Now two-for-two in the United States, Homerique is advertising her credentials for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1). At Santa Anita, aside from the internationals, she can expect even more competition from her own shedrow. Exhibit A is champion Sistercharlie, plotting to resume in the July 13 Diana (G1) en route to a Breeders’ Cup title defense.

Brown said after the New York that Homerique and Competitionofideas are both under consideration for the Diana as well as for the August 10 Beverly D. (G1) on Arlington Million Day.

Homerique can boast of smart French form during her 2018 sophomore campaign. Victorious in the Prix de Psyche (G3) at Deauville, she was a close third to Laurens in the Prix de Diane (French Oaks) (G1) and to Wild Illusion and Magic Wand in the Prix de l’Opera (G1) on Arc Day. Wild Illusion and Magic Wand subsequently finished second and fourth, respectively, to Sistercharlie in the Filly & Mare Turf. Homerique sports an overall mark of 8-4-1-2, $722,821, including a second in the Prix Penelope (G3) in her stakes debut.

Bred by Nicky Drion and Francois Drion in Kentucky, Homerique RNA’d twice – for $34,000 as a Keeneland November weanling and 22,000 guineas ($28,288) as a Tattersalls October yearling – before selling to Broadhurst Agency for €75,000 ($81,555) as a two-year-old at Arqana May. She was originally campaigned by Ecurie de Montlahuc and trained by Francis-Henry Graffard.

Homerique gets her gray coat from sire Exchange Rate. Her dam, the winning Congaree mare Chicquita Picosa, is a half-sister to Dubai Group 3-placed Music Chart (by Exchange Rate and thus a three-quarter sibling to Homerique). This is the family of unbeaten Group 1 star White Moonstone, and further back, 1995 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) queen Desert Stormer.

Quotes from Belmont Park

Trainer Chad Brown on his exacta: “The slow pace was a concern, but fortunately someone (Giant Zinger) moved early and the pace picked up a bit. Much like yesterday, it opened up and she was able to get through.

“Homerique saved more ground on the turn and had a shorter distance to the wire, but then again, she had a good amount of energy in reserve. Both horses ran well.

“Competitionofideas really ran a great race from the back. She was completely out of position early, which is not uncharacteristic for her, given her lack of early speed. She came around horses and did the best she could to come up short to a really good horse. They’re both nice horses. Unfortunately, one of them had to be the loser after running so well, but we gave them the opportunity to both run well and they both did.”

Winning rider Irad Ortiz Jr: “I had a perfect trip from the outside post. Even though we don’t really like that post we worked it out good. I wasn’t so happy with the position I had when we went to the backside, so I made the decision to take a little hold, and drop in, and then get into the pack. She appreciated that. Then she came out of the pack more than in the clear. The fractions were slow, but she handled everything pretty good. She’s a very nice horse, a real professional.”

Hall of Famer Javier Castellano on runner-up Competitionofideas: “She missed the break from out of the gate. From there, I had to use my own judgment, but I think it could have cost me the race. We were too far back. I wish we could’ve been closer to the pace. Either way, I got beat by a good horse. We were second-best today.”