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ARCADIA, CA – The rainy off-turf conditions might have scared away half of the original field, but Gary Barber’s Belvoir Bay showed no fear on Saturday when she took the lead at the top of the stretch and dug in gamely to win the $100,000 Las Cienegas Stakes at Santa Anita.
Breaking from post 4 under Flavien Prat as the even-money favorite, Belvoir Bay was unhurried early, allowing Lady Suebee to hold command through opening fractions of :21.63 and :43.85. Smoothly sliding up along the pacesetter’s outside through the far turn, Belvoir Bay hit the top of the stretch with a slight advantage and straightened for home under a full head of steam. Continuing to hold off Lady Suebee and the rest while never asked for her best, the Peter Miller trainee crossed with a 1 1/4-length advantage in a final time of 1:15.06 for the 6 1/2-furlong sprint over the wet fast (sealed) main track.
“We had a good trip and I was very confident the whole way,” Prat said. “She made a good move around the turn and she did it pretty easily.”
Lady Suebee was clear for second by 2 1/4 lengths over Compelled, while the runner-up’s stablemate Painting Corners completed the order of finish. Fiery Lady, Last Promise Kept, Miss Southern Miss, and Tesora were all scratched when the race – originally scheduled to run on the downhill turf course – was moved to the main track. Selcourt scratched in favor of racing in Sunday’s $75,000 Kalookan Queen Stakes, which ironically will be held over the same distance and main track.
Belvoir Bay’s win was her first since taking the Grade 2 Monrovia Stakes here last May and improved her overall record to 23-10-4-2 with a bankroll of $642,167. The 6-year-old British-bred daughter of Equiano entered the auction ring last November and brought $625,000 at close – by Barber, buying her outright from his partnership with Team Valor International, who helped campaign her since she arrived stateside in 2015.
“She can run on anything, we knew that, because she won a Grade 3 (the 2016 Torrey Pines Stakes) at Del Mar,” Barber said. “I really wasn’t concerned about the switch to dirt, but I was a little worried about the off track. She’s been training well on the dirt and she ran well on it.”
Belvoir Bay returned $4.20 to win and $2.80 to place, while Lady Suebee paid $3.40 to place. There was no show betting.
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