ELMONT, NY – Martin Schwartz’s Off Limits blew past her competition in a last-to-first move down the stretch to win Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Noble Damsel at Belmont Park.
Sent as the favorite of five entries from the outside post under Joel Rosario, Off Limits saved ground at the tail of the field while Sassy Little Lila set early fractions of :23.67, :46.78, and 1:09.45. Off the far turn, Rosario angled Off Limits to the outside and urged her forward five-wide. Taking command a furlong from the wire, Off Limit kicked clear easily to win the mile-long turf event by 4 3/4 lengths in a final time of 1:32.51.
“It seemed like it was an honest pace in front of me and I just listened to the instructions,” Rosario said. “(Trainer) Chad Brown told me to let her get comfortable and let her come with a run at the end, and she did. She really sprinted turning for home. I tipped her on the outside turning for home and it was all her.”
Sassy Little Lila held on for second in a three-horse photo finish. Celestine was a head back in third, with Time and Motion an additional head behind in fourth. Malibu Stacy completed the order of finish.
The Noble Damsel was the first North American graded stakes start and victory for the 5-year-old daughter of Mastercraftsman after spending 2- and 3-year-old campaigns racing in her native Ireland. The $120,000 winner’s share increased her career earnings to $334,680 with a record of 15-5-2-1, including 4-3-1-0 in 2017.
“I think she ran exceptionally well,” said Cherie DeVaux, assistant to Brown. “Joel rode her really patiently and gave her a nice ride. The mile distance seems to be her affinity. Chad and Mr. Schwartz gave her some time off between this year and last year, which seems to have benefited her tremendously.”
Off Limits returned $5.40 to win, $2.50 to place, and $2.10 to show. Sassy Little Lila brought back $3.50 to place and $2.50 to show, while Celestine paid $2.50 to show.