By Sean Greene 7:57pm, July 12, 2014
VIDEO: Replay of the race and reaction from winning connections (Race Courtesy: Delaware Park)Belle Gallantey set a comfortable pace, then held on to claim the Grade I $750,000 Delaware Handicap Saturday afternoon over odds-on favorite Princess of Sylmar.
The Rudy Rodiguez trained 5-year-old was claimed back in December for $35,000 by Bethlehem Stables, and went on to win three straight races before finishing a near-miss 5th in the Grade I Ogden Phipps at Belmont last month.
Her owners made a very late decision to enter the DelCap just moments before the post-position draw on Wednesday, and it ended paying big dividends.
Belle Gallantey jumped out to an early length lead over Flashy American, and held that position throughout the first 3/4 miles of the mile-and-a-quarter event.
Princess of Sylmar, born about 45 miles from the track in Christiana, Pa., looked to be in excellent striking position entering the far turn. She made a bid trying to split Belle Gallantey and Flashy American, but appeared to check slighty, and at about the same time Belle made a move to put distance on the 2nd place horse.
Belle Gallantey ($15.60) pulled away at the head of the stretch, leading by as many as four lengths before Sylmar finally got back in gear and passed Flashy American for second. Sylmar went off as the 1/5 favorite.
Belle Gallantey ended up winning her first Grade I stakes race by 2 3/4 lengths over Princess of Sylmar, with Flashy American comfortably holding 3rd over Gamay Noir, the winner of the Obeah Stakes last month. The exacta paid $19.60 for a $1 wager, the $1 trifecta $57.70, and the $1 superfecta cashed $183.20.
Molly Morgan, who won the Grade II Fleur De Lis at Churchill Downs in her last start never really threatened and finished 5th, with 2013 Obeah Stakes winner Bryan's Jewel finishing 6th and last, eleven lengths back.
Belle Gallantey earned $450,000 for the victory under jockey Jose Ortiz. Rudy Rodiguez earned just his 2nd Grade I victory, after claiming his first back in April in the Carter Handicap at New York's Aqueduct with Dads Caps.
The race ended a solid day of racing at Delaware Park, which had $4.02 million wagered on the 10-race card. That falls short of the of the $4.9 million record set in 2007 when Unbridled Belle won Delaware Park's most prestigious race.
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