Jim Arrison's Flattering Bea, usually well off the early pace, changed tactics and came away with a neck victory in the $200,000 Sugar Maple Stakes at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races the evening of April 19 (VIDEO).
With jockey Garry Cruise riding for trainer Crystal Pickett, Flattering Bea broke from post 6 after a few early scratches and gunned for the lead in the seven-furlong, two-turn race at the West Virginia track. She sat off front-running Wardelle for lesss than a half mile, took over down the backstretch and held off heavily favored Quiet Success and More Than a Cruise to capture her second stakes victory and fifth win overall.
It was the 4-year-old homebred filly's fourth win in five starts at Charles Town, where she captured the Miss Shenandoah Stakes as a 2-year-old in 2012.
"She has been bumped so many times out of the gate," said Pickett, who was in tears after the victory. "The circumstances of racing led to her being at the back of the field most of the time. So we worked her at (Pimlico Race Course) in :48 1/5 out of the gate, and opened her blinkers."
Wardelle set the early pace of :23.09 for the opening quarter-mile before Flattering Bea took over by half a length in :46.94 for a half-mile on a fast dirt surface that was playing to speed most of the night. Flattering Bea had the lead through six furlongs in a quick 1:12.12 and held in the final eighth to win in 1:26 for seven furlongs.
Flattering Bea paid $12.80, $3.80, and $2.40 across the board. Quiet Success returned $2.40 to place and $2.20 to show as the 3-5 choice, while More Than a Cruise, a half-length back in third, paid $2.80. The $2 exacta was worth $28.20 and the $2 trifecta paid $68.80.
Among the scratches was My Pal Chrisy, who may have been favored. Her connections opted to run her earlier in the day and she finished third in the grade II Distaff Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Flattering Bea is a Kentucky-bred by Flatter out of the Wild Rush mare Wild Bea. Arrison also raced Wild Bea.
"We were hoping she would improve as a 4-year-old, and she did," said Arrison, who races at Charles Town and the Maryland tracks. "She broke sharply and maintained her position. Speed has been OK tonight. When (Quiet Success) came at her on the turn, I was nervous."
Last May, Flattering Bea flew home late in the Miss Preakness Stakes at Pimlico to miss by a nose to I'm Mom's Favorite at 52-1. Arrison and Picket said the filly most likely will race next in the Skipat Stakes at Pimlico Race Course the weekend of the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), and could make a trip to Saratoga Race Course this summer if she continues to develop at 4.
"We hope to follow Dance to Bristol," Arrison said of the filly that won the 2012 Sugar Maple and went on to become a grade I stakes winner. "If we can be even close to her we'd be fine."
Flattering Bea increased her earnings to $297,751 in 14 starts with her Sugar Maple victory.