Lothenbach Stables’ Bell’s the One, last early in the field of six, moved to the front at the eighth pole and held on through a furious stretch drive to prevail by a neck and win the 41st running of the $250,000 Thoroughbred Club of America (G2) at Keeneland on Oct. 9.
With the victory, Bell’s the One earned a spot in the starting gate for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) to be run Nov. 6 at Del Mar.
Trained by Neil Pessin and ridden by Corey Lanerie, Bell’s the One covered the six furlongs on the fast main track in 1:08.63, just .13 off the stakes record established by Indyanne in 2008.
On the far turn, Lanerie began to close in on the field. Bell’s the One swung five wide at the head of the stretch, eased to the front at the eighth pole and had enough at the end to hold off a late bid from Club Car.
“She’s one of the best mares, if not the best horse, I’ve ever had,” Pessin said. “The only thing I regret with her is she never gets the respect she deserves. Even in this race, people weren’t even picking her on top, which made absolutely zero sense to me. The Breeders’ Cup, they got CeCe picked in front of her on the program and I’ve beat her every time I’ve run against her. So I don’t what this mare has to do to earn respect, but she’s definitely got mine.”
Pessin added he wasn’t yet committed to sending Bell’s the One to the Breeders’ Cup, citing concerns over the shipping arrangements.
“It will still depend on how she comes out of it,” the trainer said. “The plane reservations are still tough. (The Breeders’ Cup) chartered a plane where it’s horses only but it’s a Fed Ex and you still have to go to Indianapolis and be crated up and then unload in San Diego, but you can’t send any help with them either. So there is some concern about putting a $2 million mare on a plane where you don’t know the people on there with her. And she’s never been in a crate before. It’s something we’ll discuss.
“If she’s doing as well as she was before this race, then we’ll go. If not, there is a race at Churchill a week later.”
A 5-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Majesticperfection out of the Street Cry (IRE) mare Street Mate, Bell’s the One improved her record to 21-10-4-2 and boosted her earnings to $1,336,825 with Saturday’s $150,000 check.
Bell’s the One returned $4.20, $2.80 and $2.10. Club Car, ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, returned $6.60 and $3.40 and finished a head in front of Estilo Talentoso, who paid $2.60 to show under Jose Ortiz.
It was another 1½ lengths back to Inthemidstofbiz.
Odds-on favorite Golden Pal prevails in Woodford Stakes
Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Westerberg’s Golden Pal made a successful return to the races at Keeneland by scoring a 2¼-length victory over Extravagant Kid in the 25th running of the $200,000 Woodford (G2) Presented by TVG on Saturday.
Trained by Wesley Ward and ridden by John Velazquez, Golden Pal covered the 5½ furlongs on a turf course rated as good in 1:03.12. It is the second victory in the race for Ward, who saddled No Nay Never to the win in 2014.
Winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) here last fall in gate-to-wire fashion, Golden Pal flashed his speed out of the gate again Saturday carving out a :21.51 first quarter while on an uncontested lead.
He maintained a clear advantage to the head of the stretch when he was pressured on the outside by Firecrow and inside by Johnny Unleashed. At the three-sixteenths pole, Firecrow briefly stuck his head in front but the advantage was short-lived as Golden Pal quickly kicked clear to cruise to victory.
“He was very game. Before the race – I never rode him so I asked Julio (Garcia, an exercise rider and jockey for trainer Wesley Ward). He said, ‘Just put your hands down and he’ll run for you; even if he gets passed he’ll run for you’,” Velazquez said. “I left him alone and when the other horse (Firecrow) came to him and put the head in front, I was like, ‘Hey, we got to come back and run.’ I got after him, and he gradually got away from the other horse. It took me two or three jumps to engage him back into the race, and after that he was pretty good.”
A Keeneland sales graduate, Golden Pal added $120,000 to his bankroll to boost his earnings to $779,056 with a record of 7-4-2-0. He is a Florida-bred son of Uncle Mo out of the Midshipman mare Lady Shipman.
Golden Pal returned $3, $2.20 and $2.10. Extravagant Kid, ridden by Jose Ortiz, returned $3 and $2.40 and finished a half-length ahead of County Final, who paid $3.40 to show under Ricardo Santana Jr.