(Royal Charlotte wins the G3 Victory Ride Stakes at Belmont Park / Photo by Adam Coglianese & Courtesy of NYRA)

From the NYRA Media Team:

First Row Partners’ Royal Charlotte handled the step up in class and stayed undefeated, patiently tracking the speed before overtaking Cookie Dough in the stretch to draw away to a four-length victory in the 17th running of the Grade 3, $150,000 Victory Ride for 3-year-old fillies on Friday at Belmont Park.

Making her graded stakes debut, Royal Charlotte, ridden by Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, stalked as Cookie Dough led the five-horse field through an opening quarter-mile in 22.26 seconds and the half in 44.77 on the fast main track.

Trainer Chad Brown:

“We’ve always thought she was a nice filly. She’s always trained well, but she’s been a bit of an overachiever,” Brown said. “She always runs a little better than she trains, and for a horse like this to start off her career and keep getting better with every start and be so honest and consistent, I’m really lucky to have her. It was a tricky post and Javier showed why he’s a Hall of Fame rider. He didn’t panic and he just gave her a great trip and she really responded. I’m really proud of both of them.”

Royal Charlotte improved to 4-for-4, increasing her career bankroll to $201,900. She gave trainer Chad Brown his 18th stakes win of the Belmont spring/summer meet and continued her trend of winning against better competition on different tracks, beginning with a debut win on March 16 at Gulfstream, followed by a win against allowance company on April 19 at Keeneland. She then registered a 2 ½-length score in her first stakes appearance in the Hystericalady on May 27 at Monmouth Park.

“You look forward to a race like the Test for her from here. She’s earned it,” Brown said. “Every race she’s run in she’s continued to improve, and she has to be one of the top contenders now.”

Jockey Javier Castellano:

“The key was saving all the ground as best I could,” Castellano said. “I knew she wasn’t going to be on the lead. I knew there was a lot of speed in the race. I wanted to sit right off the pace, but at the same time, she’d never been in that position far back and getting a lot of dirt in the face. At first, she didn’t like it much and I had to squeeze her between horses.

“I tipped outside when I made the move and put her in the clear,” he added. “She saw daylight and she took off. It was a quick reaction and that was the key to win the race. If I stayed inside and waited for the hole, I think it would have taken too much to do it.”

Jockey Rajiv Maragh (Cookie Dough — 2nd):

Ridden by Rajiv Maragh, Cookie Dough hit the board for the first time since a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan on May 17 at Pimlico. The Florida-bred is now 2-2-4 in 10 career starts.

“She’s a gutsy filly,” Maragh said. “She was so willing from when the gate opened to get up front. She tried all the way to the end.”