Belle Allure Up Late to Win Athenia Stakes
Ronchalon Stable’s Belle Allure notched her first stakes win in North America Oct. 21 at Belmont, getting up in the final jumps to edge Kristi With a K in the $106,500 Athenia Stakes (gr. IIIT). (VIDEO)
A 4-year-old daughter of Numerous, Belle Allure won for the second time in five U.S. starts since being shipped in from France. Her only other try in graded stakes action was in her American debut last winter at Hollywood Park—a seventh-place finish in the Dahlia Handicap (gr. IIT). The chestnut filly is trained by Christophe Clement.
Sent off as the 2-5 favorite is a field of six fillies and mares, Belle Allure raced near the back of the pack under Ramon Dominguez while saving ground. She was in hand for six furlongs, then angled out for her stretch drive while finding room in the straightaway. She had to run down Kristi With a K, who had stalked the pace and opened up a clear lead midway through the stretch with Jose Lezcano aboard.
Belle Allure needed the entire final furlong to run down Kristi With a K, finally getting up in the last couple strides to secure the win by a head. The final time for 1 1/16 miles on a turf course labeled good was 1:43.30.
Cable, also trained by Clement, was another three parts of a length back in third under Cornelio Velasquez.
Miss Lombardi, the longest shot in the field, set fractions of :24.38,:48.29, and 1:12.47 before fading and eventually finishing last.
"It turned out to be kind of a paceless race," Dominguez said. "We were bunched up the whole race. I was panicking a little bit when we turned for home because there was really no racing room. Eventually, I was able to get my filly out, and she responded pretty well.
"She was at that point spotting a couple lengths to Kristi with a K, but she was able to get up.”
Belle Alllure’s only other win in the states also came at Belmont, an optional claiming score on May 21 in her first start for Clement. She was third in the Donor Stakes over the same course in July, and most recently, was runner-up in the restricted Voodoo Dancer Stakes Sept. 4 at Saratoga.
In France, Belle Allure won two of eight starts while being trained by Rupert Pritchard-Gordon, including the group III Prix Vanteaux Le Royal Palm as a 3-year-old. Overall, she has produced a 4-1-1 record from 13 starts and earnings of $216,392. She was bred Ireland by Paul Nataf and is out of the Kenmare mare Mare Aux Fees.
The winner paid $2.90, $2.20, and $2.10. The exacta (4-7) returned $10.80 and the trifecta (4-7-6) was $28.60.
"Belle Allure had only had three starts--four starts with today--this year," Clement said. "She’s just been unlucky. It’s been a little bit difficult to find her kind of races this year, but she’s trained well, and I was pretty confident she’d run a good race today. She’s a nice filly and I’m delighted for the owner who had the patience to keep her in training for another year.
"She’s won now, so maybe let’s go for a better race somewhere. The Matriarch would be one choice (grade I, Hollywood Park, Nov. 28) or the Cardinal (grade III, Churchill Downs, Nov. 21).”
The Athenia was originally carded for Oct. 17 but inclement weather forced the event to be postponed.
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