After finishing on the board in a graded stakes in each of her last three starts, Exogenous made it to the Belmont Park winner's circle Saturday after upsetting the field of 3-year-old fillies in the $250,000 Gazelle Handicap (gr. I) to earn her first career stakes win. Under Javier Castellano, Exogenous completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.68 on a fast track, 3 1/2 lengths ahead of longshot Two Item Limit.
After eventually winning a multi-horse duel for the lead, 3-5 favorite Fleet Renee led the field into the stretch before Exogenous rallied up the rail for the win.
"I had a lot of confidence in her; I tried to settle her down behind the leaders," said Castellano. "I tried to check the horses and when the rail opened up, I tried to make a big run and she exploded."
Two Item Limit closed well for second, finishing a nose ahead of Fleet Renee. Transcendental, Starrer, Caressing, Real Cozzy, and Indy Pick completed the order of finish.
After finishing third in the Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) in her first stakes attempt, Exogenous finished second in a pair of long-distance grade Is, the 1 1/2-mile Coaching Club American Oaks and the 1 1/4-mile Alabama Stakes. Exogenous (Unbridled-Tangled Up in Blue, by Phone Trick) is a Centaur Farms homebred trained by Flint "Scotty" Schulhofer. She earned $150,000 for the win, her fourth in 11 career starts.
"I guess the blinkers made a big difference, it looked like she really had her mind on her business," said assistant trainer Randy Schulhofer. "She needed a race with some pace to run at, and she got that today. She broke a little slow, but the next thing I know, she was right up there and wanting to run. Obviously, the blinkers got her a little more focused."
Exogenous returned $20.60, $9.10, and $3.50. Two Item Limit paid $27 and $7.30 and completed the $351.50 exacta. Fleet Renee returned $2.30 to show. (Chart, Equibase