ARCADIA, CA – Team Valor International and Gary Barber’s Belvoir Bay continued her hot streak down the Santa Anita hillside turf course on Monday, blowing away her competition in the stretch to win the Grade 2, $200,000 Monrovia Stakes.
Breaking well from post 3 under Victor Espinoza as the 9-5 favorite, Belvoir Bay saved ground while stalking the early pace behind Algorhythmic in opening fractions of :21.76 and :44.15. Bidding between foes to gain the lead in midstretch, Belvoir Bay was kept to task while beginning to distance herself. The Peter Miller trainee hit the wire by 1 1/2 lengths in a final time of 1:12.80 for the 6 1/2-furlong sprint.
“I was tracking the leaders and was right in behind those horses and I couldn’t move out or in, so I just had to wait for a little gap between them,” Espinoza said. “If I have a lot of horse, it’s easy to go through a hole that small, and that’s all I needed. When they opened up across the dirt, that was it for her.”
Ancient Secret had to fight between several foes in the stretch before getting up for second by 1 1/2 lengths over several tightly-knit foes. The stewards had their work cut out for them to determine third through seventh before ultimately determining that three necks and a nose were all that separated Compelled, Coniah, Blame It On Alphie, Mongolian Shopper, and Algorhythmic. Causeway Carolyn necked out eighth over Miss Sugars to complete the order of finish. Classy Tune was scratched after her connections chose to run her in Sunday’s Grade 3 Desert Stormer Stakes, where she finished fourth.
Belvoir Bay’s win was her third straight stakes score, all in 2018 and down the hillside course, following the $75,000 Mizdirection Stakes in March and the Grade 3 San Simeon Stakes in April. The British-bred 5-year-old daugher of Equiano improved her overall record to 20-9-3-2 with career earnings of $558,361.
“She’s something else,” Miller said. “She instills a lot of confidence in you as a trainer, but you still need to get the trip. I was a little concerned whether she was going to get through or not, but Victor somehow got through. ”
Belvoir Bay returned $5.60 to win, $3 to place, and $2.40 to show. Ancient Secret brought back $3.80 to place and $3 to show, while Compelled paid $3.80 to show.