Oasis Racing's Wildcat Bettie B revved up while racing wide down the stretch and caught the 18-1 outsider Wild Gams in the final yards to win the $250,000 Prioress Breeders' Cup by a neck at Belmont Park Saturday.
With Mario Pino aboard, Wildcat Bettie B was outrun early in the six-furlong event for 3-year-old fillies while sixth in the field of eight. She made up ground while four wide on the turn, then took advantage of a wicked early pace to sweep past the tiring leaders in the final furlong. She won in a time of 1:09.
J. Larry Jones trains the Kentucky-bred chestnut daughter of Meadowlake
-One Number Short (Katowice), who was coming off a two-length win in the Miss Preakness (gr. III) at Pimlico May 19. The Prioress was her first appearance in a grade I race.
Although she has shown speed in the past, as she did when she won the Miss Preakness at Pimlico, Wildcat Bettie B has done her best racing from off the pace. That style came in handy in her first New York appearance.
"I knew there was a lot of speed in there," Pino said. "Larry told me to play it off the break, and she settled real nice. I kicked her out to the outside when it looked like they were all slowing down up front. We needed all of that stretch to get by Wild Gams. I'm glad it's a long lane."
Wild Gams appeared to be a winner after pulling away from the pacesetters Win McCool and Misty Rosette leaving the eighth pole. Ridden by Mike Luzzi, she dug in gamely but came up a little short. The deep closer, Livermore Valley -- off at 21-1 with Javier Castellano aboard -- was 2 1/2 lengths behind the runner-up in third.
Capote's Crown, the 17-10 favorite coming off a 3 3/4-length victory in a Belmont stakes race June 9, finished seventh.
Misty Rosette, ridden by Garrett Gomez, led out of the gate but took back to third as Win McCool, breaking from the outside, took over and set sizzling fractions of :21 4/5 and :44 1/5. Misty Rosette kept the pressure on as they reached the stretch, but both frontrunners soon paid the price as Wild Gams rallied three wide to seize the advantage. Wild Gams just failed to hold off the winner as Livermore Valley rallied along the inside.
"I was hoping they were doing :21 short in order for us to run them down," Jones said. "Mario had her in the outer path. He's been working her, and he's gotten accustomed to her.
"This filly loves to win. In all the races she's gotten beat in, most of them have been trainer errors and not her errors. She shows up to run every time. We had to make this one count. We were fortunate to get a great trip."
Sent off as the fourth choice, Wildcat Bettie B. paid $12.80, $7.20, and $4.70. Wild Gams returned $16.20 and $11.60. Livermore Valley was $8.20 to show.
Wldcat Bettie B. who has now won three of her last four starts, earned $150,000 for her fifth lifetime win in eight tries. Her bankroll stands at $313,420. Berry and Judith Becker bred the winner, a $42,000 Keeneland yearling buy in 2004.
Diplomat Lady finished fourth, followed by Misty Rosette, Win McCool, Capote's Crown, and Silvestris. Downthedustyroad scratched.
"The winner carried me out a little bit on the turn," said Jose Santos, jockey of Capote's Crown. "I cut her to the inside, but she didn't have a good kick today."