By Rab Hagin
Three-year-olds ETHAN HUNT ($164,363), MISSION COMMAND, and HARDLY MATE won on Belmont dirt, inner turf, and outer turf respectively on October 14 and 26, and multiple stakes-placed juvenile INALIENABLE RIGHTS ($132,200) placed in an October 21 stakes at Belmont – boosting the progeny earnings for their sire, MISSION IMPAZIBLE, beyond $2-million. Grade 2-winning millionaire Mission Impazible is the leading New York-based juvenile sire and second-crop sire for 2017 and ranks among the top-15 North American second-crop sires for 2017. He is the only North American-based stallion among those 15 leading second-crop sires standing outside of Kentucky. Mission Impazible also ranks among the top-15 North American juvenile sires (ranked 14th) – living or dead – for 2017.
Ethan Hunt, who races for Calm And Cool Stable and G and A Racing Stable, scored his third victory and second tally of 2017 in a six-furlong contest in which he ran down the near even money runner-up at equal weights despite being forced five-wide by that drifting-out rival. The gray colt had broken his maiden by 5¼ lengths at a mile at Aqueduct as a 2-year-old after having placed in two six-figure stakes.
Mission Command, owned by John P. Fort’s Peachtree Stable, was the first of two Mission Impazible winners on Belmont’s Thursday, October 26 card, scoring by 2¾ lengths against nine 3-year-olds and up going six furlongs on still-wet “good” inner turf in 1:09.84 for his first win on grass. It was the second start off an 11-month layoff for the mid-May-foaled 3-year-old colt, who was by far the youngest in the contest (only May-foaled 3-year-old) and closed from eighth to first within the final quarter-mile.
Winning three races later on Belmont’s October 26 card was sophomore filly Hardly Mate, who races for Debra J. Wycoff’s Three Diamonds Farm and broke her maiden by two lengths, charging from last as the favorite among 12 going 1 1/16 miles on the “good” outer turf. She trailed her closest (next-to-last) rival by two lengths after the first quarter-mile and was still 11th on the far turn with only five-sixteenths of a mile to run, eventually fanning out six-wide to get a clear stretch run. In the final five-sixteenths, Hardly Mate overtook ten rivals, covering her final individual sixteenth of a mile in about 5 1/5 seconds despite the less-than-firm turf. She was Mission Impazible’s 20th winner of 2017.
Inalienable Rights, Alan Brodsky’s never-unplaced juvenile, placed a closing third among 11 in Belmont’s $250,000 Sleepy Hollow Stakes at a one-turn mile on New York Showcase Day (October 21), passing three rivals, including the top two choices (one of them a previously unbeaten stakes winner), in the final furlong. Inalienable Rights previously had placed second in stakes at Saratoga and Belmont after having won his maiden special debut by nearly two lengths on a wet track at Belmont.