Saturday, September 27, 2014

Belle Gallantey rolls on front end to win G1 Beldame

The New York Racing Association, Inc.

Saturday, September 27, 2014


Belle Gallantey rolls on front end to win G1 Beldame


By Phil Janack


ELMONT, N.Y. - Greeted with a fast surface in a return to one of her favorite tracks, Belle Gallantey led from start to finish to dominate the Grade 1, $400,000 Beldame on TVG Super Saturday at Belmont Park.


Trained by Rudy Rodriguez, who won the Grade 2, $400,000 Kelso with Vyjack in the previous race, Belle Gallantey was never threatened in rolling to an 8 ¼-length triumph in the 1 1/8-mile test for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up.


"It's very, very special," Rodriguez said. "We're working very hard with these kinds of horses, and thank God they did it. I don't know what to tell you. I'm speechless."


Winner of the Grade 1 Delaware Handicap on July 12, Belle Gallantey finished sixth of seven, beaten more than 25 lengths, in her following start, the Grade 1 Personal Ensign on August 22 at Saratoga Race Course.


That race was contested over a muddy and sealed main track, which Rodriguez felt compromised his 5-year-old mare's chances.


"She has some bad ankles and I think her ankles kind of pinched her in the slop when they go to the bottom of the [racetrack]," he said. "It's not the same as running on a fast track."


Breaking from the outside of a seven-horse field, Ortiz and Belle Gallantey scooted to the front and led through a quarter-mile in 24.18 seconds and a half in 47.51, with 3-2 favorite Stopchargingmaria in pursuit.


Belle Gallantey stretched her lead to three lengths after running six furlongs in 1:11.20, and even further with each stride down the stretch before hitting the wire in 1:47.55.


"I told [jockey] Jose [Ortiz], 'You've got the outside and you've got the option to see what everyone else is doing, so take it from there. If they leave you alone, take it,'" Rodriguez said. "I think she's a pretty versatile filly where she can sit and come from behind. When they left them alone and they went [the first quarter] in 24 [seconds], I was very happy. She's a very nice filly and she showed it today."


Sent off at 9-2, Belle Gallantey returned $11.40 for a $2 win bet. She was followed under the wire by Stopchargingmaria, Endless Chatter, Stanwyck, Fiftyshadesofhay, Toasting and Oasis at Midnight.


"I just put my hands down and was a passenger," Ortiz said. "As soon as I went to the lead, she relaxed really well. Rudy told me she was 100 percent, and I always trust him. When we went to the quarter pole I had a lot of horse, so I knew I had it."


The loss snapped a three-race win streak for Stopchargingmaria, the lone 3-year-old in the field trying older horses for the first time. She had captured the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan, Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks and Grade 1 Alabama heading into the Beldame.


"The winner is tough when she gets things her way on the front end," trainer Todd Pletcher said. "We tried to stay as close as we could without totally taking our filly out of her game, but we just kind of kept chasing the whole way.'"



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