Little Belle Tries to Trip Older Horses
Godolphin Stable’s homebred Little Belle will try to pick up where she left off this past spring at Keeneland and punch her ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic (gr. I) later this month when she battles 10 older rivals in the $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster (gr. I) Oct. 5 in Lexington. The nine-furlong event for 3-year-old fillies and mares is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” event.
A 3-year-old daughter of A.P. Indy, Little Belle captured the Ashland Stakes (gr. I) April 5 at Keeneland to score her first and only graded stakes. Since then she has not hit the winner’s circle in four efforts, but has been facing some of the toughest sophomore fillies in the nation. Trained by Saeed bin Suroor, Little Belle enters off a seventh-place finish in the Ruffian Handicap (gr. I) Sept. 6 at Belmont. Earlier in 2008 she was runner-up to Proud Spell and Music Note in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I), respectively.
Regular rider Rajiv Maragh will be aboard Little Belle, who is out of the Mr. Prospector mare Dubai Belle and is the lone 3-year-old in the race. On Sept. 25 she turned in a five-furlong bullet work at Belmont in 1:00 flat.
Little Belle will be coupled with stablemate Say You Will, a 4-year-old Irish-bred filly, also by A.P. Indy. Say You Will broke her maiden at Keeneland in 2007 and is 3-4-0 from 10 career starts.
One of Little Belle’s main rivals will be Team Valor’s Unbridled Belle, a 5-year-old daughter of Broken Vow . Trained by Todd Pletcher, Unbridled Belle has been lightly-raced this season, going to the post just three times. She won the Obeah Stakes (gr. III) by nearly six lengths in June, and since then has finished third twice – to Hystericalady in the Delaware Handicap (gr. II) and to Ginger Punchin the Personal Ensign (gr. I) at Saratoga. The dark bay mare won the grade I Beldame last season before finishing fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I).
An earner of more than $1.5 million from 17 starts, Unbridled Belle will have the services of John Velazquez.
Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable’s Carriage Trail has had good success at Keeneland. The 5-year-old Giant's Causeway mare won the Doubledogdare (gr. III) in April, which was her second win in three starts in Lexington. The Shug McGaughey trainee also won the De La Rose Stakes at Saratoga July 30 before falling a length short to Wait a While in the Ballston Spa (gr. II) Aug. 21. Kent Desormeaux, who was aboard in the Doubledogdare, will ride.
Another filly who has won over Keeneland’s Polytack is Don Adam’s Indescribable. The 4-year-old daughter of Pleasant Tap won an allowance event by 8 1/2 length last October and also has two thirds to show for her Keeneland experience. Earlier this season Indescribable won the Arlington Matron (gr. III), but is 0-for-3 since then.
$500,000 Juddmonte Spinster (gr. I, Race 9, 5:10 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Polytrack)
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