Strike the Bell surprised favored Quiet Meadow when she rallied from last to first to win the $100,000 Noble Damsel Stakes (gr. IIIT) for her first added-money score Sept. 19 on Belmont Park's Widener turf course (VIDEO).
Trained by David Donk for Rising Star Stables, the 4-year-old daughter of Mizzen Mast --Vesper Cat, by Mountain Cat, completed the one-turn mile in 1:34.58 over good ground.
Breaking from the inside for jockey Ramon Dominguez, Strike the Bell trailed the field while saving ground behind pacesetter C. S. Silk, who clipped quick fractions of :23.54, :46.16, and 1:09.93 while leading by as many as seven lengths.
Strike the Bell was asked for some run on the turn, angling out four paths wide for the stretch run while sixth. She quickly closed in on the pacesetter to take command leaving the eighth pole and edged clear under confident handling.
“I’ve ridden this filly twice before, so I knew her coming into this race today,” Dominguez said. “I felt pretty confident after the first quarter of a mile. She fell into the bridle nicely and I could tell we were going to have a good run. When I started to angle out, and pass horses, I could feel that I wasn’t going to have to go to the whip because she was rolling. I could see on the big screen that they were behind me and trying to pressure me, but I felt like we were home free.”
Quiet Meadow, under Jose Lezcano, stalked the pacesetter in second but could not keep pace with the winner when asked for more in mid-stretch. Quiet Meadow finished up willingly while settling for second, one length in front of Scolara, ridden by John Velazquez.
Strike the Bell, who missed by just a head in the Miss Liberty Stakes at Monmouth Park in July before running sixth behind Dynaslew in the Ballston Spa Handicap (gr. IIT) at Saratoga on Aug. 28, now owns a record of 4-4-3 from 16 starts and has earned $237,278.
“Even though Ramon was that far back, he was happy with his spot,” Donk said. “He knows she just has a big turn of foot. He trusts her and that’s the biggest thing. If he’s comfortable, then I’m comfortable.
“I honestly haven’t thought past this race,” Donk said when asked where the filly might start next. “I knew today was an important one because it’s graded. It’s a nice one to get out of the way. I hope that she’s around another year; she could be a pretty serious filly.”
Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Kuster and Mr. and Mrs. Howard Roberts bred the winning chestnut filly in Kentucky. She was a $45,000 auction purchase as a 2-year-old.
Sent off as the co-second choice, Strike the Bell carried 118 pounds and paid $10.80, $5, and $3.30 while topping a $37.80 exacta. Quiet Meadow, the 2-1 choice with a string of in-the-money finishes in graded stakes for trainer Chad Brown, returned $3.60 and $2.80. Scolara paid $3 to show.