ELMONT, NY – Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables, and Bethlehem Stables’ A Raving Beauty continued her hot streak on Saturday, scoring her first career Grade 1 win in the $700,000 Longines Just a Game Stakes at Belmont Park.
Breaking well from post 7 under Irad Ortiz, Jr., A Raving Beauty was content to stalk along the outside of Proctor’s Ledge close behind early leader Lull through opening splits of :23.34, :46.37, and 1:08.82. Making a strong, sweeping move through the far turn, A Raving Beauty hit the top of the stretch full of run and fought valiantly through to the wire, winning by 3/4 of a length in a final time of 1:32.14 for the mile-long event over the firm Widener turf course.
Proctor’s Ledge was able to follow close behind the winner and get up for second by a 1/2-length over a very game Lull. The 9-5 favorite Off Limits missed hitting the board by a neck while also outlasting On Leave by a head, Dream Dancing by two heads, and Cambodia by three heads. La Coronel faded hard after pressing the early pace to complete the order of finish.
A Raving Beauty’s win was her second straight since being purchased for nearly $265,000 at the Arqana auction in France last December. The German-bred 5-year-old daughter of the Irish stallion Mastercraftsman now carries a worldwide stat line of 19-5-3-2. She won her American debut here in last month’s Grade 3 Beaugay Stakes for trainer Chad Brown.
“We took our time with her since she’s come into the program, and she’s really taken to the program well,” said Brown, who also won last year’s edition with Antonoe. “I’ve been impressed with her development and each of her works has gotten better. We showed a lot of confidence her first time in this country, putting her in a graded stakes last time, and she delivered and ran really well. Then to come around and come right back in a few short weeks and to be put in a Grade 1, that’s climbing the ladder pretty fast, given her previous form.”
A Raving Beauty returned $9.30 to win, $5.20 to place, and $3.70 to show. Proctor’s Ledge brought back $7.40 to place and $4.60 to show, while Lull paid $4.30 to show.