Put something on the shelf for a few months and it may develop a layer of dust. In Friday's $250,000 Bonnie Miss Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park, 7-10 favorite Belterra, returning from a 3 1/2-month layoff, finished third behind a racing-sharp Dust Me Off. The defeat was the first for Belterra, who won all three of her juvenile starts, including the Golden Rod Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs.
After the H. Allen Jerkens trainees front-running victory in the 1 1/8-mile main track test for 3-year-old fillies, it was Dust Me Off's five rivals who needed the dusting off. Cynthia Knight's filly set fractions of :48.31 and 1:12.34 under Mark Guidry, repelled a bid by Nonsuch Bay after bearing out a bit into that rival's path as they straightened for home, then drew away to win by 3 1/4 lengths at the wire. The daughter of With Approval completed the distance in 1:49.67 on a fast track to earn the win in her first stakes appearance.
John Velazquez, Nonsuch Bay's rider, claimed foul against the winner for the incident at the top of the stretch. Stewards ruled the interference did not warrant a disqualification.
Nonsuch Bay finished second, a half-length ahead of Belterra. It was another 4 3/4 lengths back to Miu Miu, with Ms Brookski and Stormy Frolic completing the order of finish.
Dust Me Off earned $150,000 for the win, her third in four career starts. She won her racing debut in a 5 1/2-furlong race at Calder in December, then finished off the board in a turf allowance race, before returning to the main track to take a 1 1/16-mile allowance race by 5 3/4 lengths.
Landon Knight Stable bred Dust Me Off from the Wild Again mare Emma Loves Marie, making her a half-sister to grade III winner Dat You Miz Blue (by Cure the Blues). (Chart, Equibase