Life At Ten, who had a six-race win streak stopped in the Personal Ensign Stakes (gr. I) in her last start, will take on the Personal Ensign winner and four other rivals in the Beldame Stakes (gr. I) Oct. 2 at Belmont Park.
The 1 1/8-mile Beldame, an eighth of mile shorter than the Personal Ensign, will be run at weight-for-age conditions for fillies and mares, with 3-year-old Bonnie Blue Flag carrying 120 pounds and the remaining distaffers 123 pounds.
Life At Ten, by Malibu Moon , finished a well beaten third in the Personal Ensign, trailing Persistently and Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra in what turned out to be the latter’s final start of her career. In her last start before the Personal Ensign, Life At Ten captured the Delaware Handicap (gr. II) at 10 furlongs.
Trained by Todd Pletcher for Candy DeBartolo, Life At Ten proved successful against grade I company when she captured the Ogden Phipps Handicap at 1 1/16 miles at Belmont Park in June. She has won twice at the 1 1/8-mile distance, capturing the Sixty Sails Handicap (gr. III) and the Rare Treat Stakes early in the year. Life At Ten gets the return services of jockey John Velazquez in the Beldame.
Persistently’s defeat of Rachel Alexandra in the Personal Ensign came at 21-1 odds in Persistently's first stakes appearance since last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I). Persistently took the lead in the final furlong and scored by a length over Rachel Alexandra, with Life At Ten some 10 lengths farther back.
Persistently’s two other wins from seven starts this year came in an allowance race and an optional claimer. Trained by Shug McGaughey, Persistently, by Smoke Glacken, races as a homebred for Phipps Stable. Alan Garcia rides again.
Unrivaled Belle, by Unbridled's Song, also has a victory over Rachel Alexandra this year. She beat the grand filly in the La Troienne Stakes (gr. II) in April. Unrivaled Belle then ran second in the Ogden Phipps Handicap. In her last start, she was runner-up in the Ruffian Handicap (gr. I) Aug. 1 at Saratoga. Trained by Bill Mott for Gary Seidler and Peter Vegso, Unrivaled Belle will be ridden again by Kent Desormeaux.
Bonnie Blue Flag has some grade I stakes experience, but it came sprinting. She ran third in the Prioress Stakes at six furlongs at Belmont Park in July and second in the Test Stakes at seven furlongs at Saratoga in August in her last start. By Mineshaft , she is trained by Bob Baffert for Peachtree Stable and will be ridden by Garrett Gomez for the first time since her initial race.
Miss Match, a group I winner in her native Argentina, first started in the United States in August 2009 and has placed in two stakes. The daughter of Indygo Shiner goes into the Beldame off a win in an optional claiming race at Saratoga in mid-August. Michael Matz trains her for Lael Stables, and Ramon Dominquez rides her for the first time.
Queen Martha, who began her racing career in England, has been back in her native land since 2009, but has only run three times since her return. Her best effort came in the Lady’s Secret Stakes in July when second. Queen Martha, by Rahy, is trained by Patrick Biancone for Robert Trussell. Pablo Fragoso will be aboard for the first time.
$350,000 Beldame Stakes (gr. I, Race 8, 4:35 p.m.), Fillies and Mares 3YO and Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Dirt)
Post, Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. Life At Ten, J R Velazquez, T A Pletcher
2. Miss Match, R A Dominguez, M R Matz
3. Queen Martha, P Fragoso, P L Biancone
4. Unrivaled Belle, K J Desormeaux, W I Mott
5. Bonnie Blue Flag, G K Gomez, B Baffert
6. Persistently, A Garcia, C R McGaughey