Brereton C. Jones’ homebred Believe You Can rated off a snappy pace and came widest of all to win the Tempted Stakes (gr. III) by 2 1/2 lengths (VIDEO) at Belmont Park Oct. 2. The 7-2 fourth choice in the field of five juvenile fillies completed the six furlongs in 1:11.20. Perennial Song finished second and favorite Georgie's Angel was third.
Shortened from a mile, the Tempted also was moved up on the calendar to serve as a prep for the inaugural Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint (gr. II) Nov. 4. The Tempted previously had been contested at Aqueduct.
Trained by Larry Jones, Believe You Can won her last two starts at Delaware Park, including an Aug. 16 optional claimer by 4 1/2 lengths. The daughter of Proud Citizen was supplemented to the Tempted and prepared for her first stakes test with a stiff five-furlong breeze at Delaware Park Sept. 26.
In the Tempted, Select Cat and Perennial Song dueled up front through opening quarters of :21.67 and :45.13 as jockey Gabriel Saez kept Believe You Can just off the contested pace. Nearing the turn, Javier Castellano took a snug hold of Perennial Song who then responded eagerly when let out a notch to lead briefly and yield grudgingly to the winner.
Believe You Can returned $9.50, $4.90, and $2.70 while Perennial Song paid $4.10 and $2.60. Georgie's Angel, winner of the July 22 Schuylerville (gr. III) and most recently fourth in the Sept. 4 Spinaway (gr. I), paid $2.40. Longshot Colormesaichi finsihed fourth, with Select Cat last.
"She’s a pretty good filly. We want to run her two turns," Larry Jones said of the winner. "I thought she had more speed then these others, but we’ve been teaching her to relax. It’s easy to teach one to rate when (they) go in 21 and change.”
The trainer said it was uncertain which Breeders' Cup race Believe You Can might contest. “We don’t know. This leaves a lot of options open. I’ll get with the governor (Jones, the former governor of Kentucky). We’ll have a lot of time to talk. I told Brereton this is a quality filly, and we’ve thought a lot of her.”
Saez said the race unfolded as expected, though he acknowledged he had to work to get his filly to relax on the turn. “At the top of the lane, I was sitting on plenty of horse. She was going really well,” he said.
Bred in Kentucky by the owner, Believe You Can is out of the El Prado mare El Fasto. The Tempted brings her record to three victories from four starts, for earnings of $110,550.