Belle Gallantey wins the 2014 Delaware Handicap under jockey Jose Ortiz. (Photo by Eclipse Sportswire)
Belle Gallantey got away with tepid fractions and opened up in the stretch to defeat heavy favorite Princess of Sylmar and win the Grade 1 Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park.
Last seen finishing fifth behind Close Hatches and Princess of Sylmar in the Ogden Phipps at Belmont, Belle Gallantey left the gate as the 6.80-to-1 second choice.
Belle Gallantey eased into the 1 ¼-mile contest after breaking on top from the rail, setting fractions of :24.55 for the first quarter and :49.51 for the half while tracked by Flashy American.
Princess of Sylmar sat just off the pace and was given her cue by jockey Javier Castellano midway on the final turn, but the 123-pound highweight was unable to make headway as Belle Gallantey and Flashy American kicked for home.
Flashy American gave chase as Belle Gallantey drew off to lead by 1 ½ lengths in early stretch. Princess of Sylmar was forced to swing wide and closed late to finish second, 2 3/4 lengths behind the winner. She was followed across the line by Flashy American, Gamay Noir, Molly Morgan and Bryan’s Jewel. Belle Gallantey carried 115 pounds to victory and stopped the clock in 2:01.15 after leading at every call.
BELLE GALLANTEY ENTERS THE DELAWARE PARK WINNER'S CIRCLE
Photo by Eclipse Sportswire
Todd Pletcher, trainer of Princess of Sylmar, did not have an explanation for the filly's performance.
"One of my concerns was not having a true pace scenario developing, which is legitimate, but we have no excuses," Pletcher said.
Claimed for just $35,000 in December 2013, Belle Gallantey lifted her career bankroll to $866,270 with the lion’s share of the $750,000 purse.
The daughter of After Market has won eight of her 41 career races and is four-for-five since joining the barn of Rudy Rodriguez late last year. Rodriguez was not surprised by the mare's winning effort.
"She had been running short and she got a very good number. We started her going long and she just kept getting better and better," said Rodriguez. "Last time, in the Ogden Phipps, she showed she belonged with this kind and that made it easy for us run in the Delaware Handicap."
Jose Ortiz guided the chestnut mare to her first graded stakes triumph in her second stakes try for owners Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stables and Gary Aisquith.
For the Equibase chart, click here.