Jose Lezcano and Mississippi Delta prevailed over a late-charging Conquest Babayaga to win the Grade 3 Intercontinental Stakes at Belmont on Thursday afternoon. Lezcano and Mississippi Delta sat three to four wide just off the pace through the backstretch and swung wide in upper stretch to post a challenge to early leader Portmagee and held off their rival to the outside.
Mark Casse trains Mississippi Delta for owners Terry Green and Mike Rutherford. The 5-year-old mare came to the Intercontinental off a fourth-place effort in the G2 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile in May. She previously won the Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint Stakes, in addition to the Alywow and Glorious Song. The daughter of Giant’s Causeway is also multiple graded stakes-placed.
Mississippi Delta is a homebred for Rutherford, and is out of Purge mare Texas to a Tee.
Portmagee was third. The final time for the seven furlongs on the turf was 1:20.05.
See the full chart here.
Intercontinental (G3) Quotes, courtesy of the NYRA Press Office
Mark Casse, winning trainer of Mississippi Delta (No. 5): “That was interesting, because the filly that was flying on in [Conquest Babayaga, No. 7] was my old filly that we sold in the Conquest dispersal. I felt like I was afraid the Preakness was going happen. Chad got us in the Preakness; we got him this time. When she’s on her game, she’s on the bridle. I said to [son and assistant] Norman about the quarter pole, ‘He’s got horse. She’s going to run good.’ She looked good today.”
Jose Lezcano, winning jockey aboard Mississippi Delta (No. 5): “I got a very good trip. She broke good and we were exactly where I wanted to be. Last time, she got very soft turf. I know she’s a nice filly and she’s better than what she showed last time. Today, the grass was perfect for her and she ran her race.”
Javier Castellano, jockey aboard beaten favorite Take These Chains (No. 9): “I didn’t have much excuse today. I was in a good spot but, unfortunately, she didn’t fire today. I don’t know for what reason, but she didn’t show up today.”
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