SARATOGA SPRINGS — Bell’s the One displayed her usual devastating late kick with a five-wide move in the upper stretch, besting Lake Avenue by a neck to win Wednesday’s Grade II, $200,000 Honorable Miss at Saratoga Race Course.
Wednesday’s win was the fourth graded stakes victory for the 3-year-old filly, who was coming off a win in the Roxelana on June 19 at Churchill Downs.
Breaking from outermost post 8 under Corey Lanerie, Bell’s the One took to the rear of the field as Ain’t No Elmers secured frontrunning position from her inside post and led through an opening quarter-mile in 22.80 seconds with Honey I’m Good to her outside in second position over the fast main track.
Around the turn, Bell’s the One launched her bid and started picking up ground, moving into sixth position with a rallying Lake Avenue to her inside through a half-mile in 45.85 seconds.
Just outside the 3/16 pole, Ain’t No Elmers maintained a slight advantage as Bell’s the One and graded stakes winner Lake Avenue ran eye-to-eye in the stretch drive. The pair of fillies moved past the pacesetter inside the sixteenth-pole with Bell’s the One getting her neck first on the wire, completing the six furlongs in 1:09.83.
“I just let her run her race and when she got on her left lead on the turn, she said, ‘it’s time to go’ and started making up ground so easily,” Lanerie told the New York Racing Association. “[Lake Avenue] actually put in more of a fight than I expected. I thought when I got to her, I was going to run away. But she wouldn’t go away for a while; we were running home. This was a good race. She ran her own race today and I let her do it. It can get kind of scary at times, especially here at Saratoga. It’s hard to win here.”
Ain’t No Elmers finished another 2 3/4 lengths back in third. Truth Hurts, Miss Mosaic, Don’t Call Me Mary, Reagan’s Edge and Honey I’m Good completed the order of finish. Sadie Lady was scratched.
Trained by Neil Pessin, Bell’s the One returned $3.80 as the favorite and improved her record to 19-9-3-2 with her lifetime earnings now standing at $1,126,825.
Pessin noted how difficult it was to make up significant ground on the Saratoga main track.
“They didn’t go very fast,” Pessin said. “They went 22 and four for the first quarter, but she just took herself back and Corey didn’t rush her, so I said we’ll see what happens from there and she made her run like she usually does. It’s been a hard track to close on today. I think she’s the only one that deep-closed any at all, but I thought she was also the best horse in the race coming in, and I feel that way coming out.”
The veteran trainer said he considers Bell’s the One to be the greatest horse he has conditioned.
“She’s about as special as they come to me,” Pessin said. “I’ve got one other filly that I had in her category, Eden Prairie, that didn’t do the races that this mare’s won but she was all heart and tried every time. They’re the two favorite horses I’ve ever had.”
Pessin said Bell’s the One will likely target the Grade 2, $250,000 Thoroughbred Club of America on Oct. 9 at Keeneland.
STEP DANCER WINS NYSS CAB CALLOWAY
Step Dancer used a strong stretch-drive finish from the outside to run down pacesetter Dreamer’s Disease in the final jumps, edging his rival by a neck to capture Wednesday’s $150,000 New York Stallion Stakes Series Cab Calloway over the Inner Turf.
Step Dancer won for the first time in four starts as a sophomore and improved to 2-for-2 at the Spa after winning his debut here over the turf last September. The 19th running of the Cab Calloway was for eligible New York-bred 3-year-olds going one mile.
The victory for the War Dancer colt was far from assured, as Dreamer’s Disease surged to the front from the inside post under David Cohen, leading the eight-horse field through an opening quarter-mile in 23.80 seconds, the half in 48.77 and three-quarters in 1:12.68 over firm going.
Step Dancer, under jockey Dylan Davis, tracked in sixth, a position he maintained exiting the final turn. But Davis tipped out his charge when straightened for home and Step Dancer relished the open daylight in front, gaining ground on Dreamer’s Disease with every stride in the final furlong before collaring him right before the wire, completing the course in 1:35.83 to score the win for trainer Barclay Tagg.
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