Perfect Sting Pulls Clear Late for Diana Win

Perfect Sting Pulls Clear Late for Diana Win
Photo: Associated Press / NYRA / Adam Coglianese
Perfect Sting captures the Diana Handicap at Saratoga on Monday, the closing day of the 2000 season. Bailey finished the meeting with 50 victories to break the record of 48 he set in 1997.
Perfect Sting remained perfect on the year as she edged to the lead in the stretch to win the $500,000 Diana Handicap (gr. IIT) by 3/4 lengths Monday at Saratoga. The 4-year-old Stronach Stable's homebred completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.01 over firm turf. License Fee held on gamely to finish second. Hello Soso, Colstar, Pico Tenerriffe, Fictitious, and Idle Rich completed the order of finish. Melody Queen and Nordican Inch were scratched.

License Fee set the early pace as Perfect Sting tracked the leaders. License Fee ran the half-mile in :47.97 and six furlongs in 1:11.46 while pressed by Idle Rich. Under Jerry Bailey, Perfect Sting moved into contention while three wide on the second turn and gradually wore down License Fee through the stretch while carrying seven more pounds than the pacesetter.

"I made the decision to force the pace down the backside because I knew they would walk us to death," Bailey said. "I had enough horse to split horses on the turn, and she went through with ease. I had to get into her a bit in the stretch, but I think she likes cutting it close. This is actually a big win margin for her."

The win is the fourth on the year from four starts for the Joe Orseno trainee. The daughter of Red Ransom--Valid Victress, by Valid Appeal, narrowly won her previous three 2000 starts, the Beaugay Handicap (gr. IIIT), the Just A Game Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT), and the New York Handicap (gr. IIT). She earned $300,000 for the win, her 12th in 17 career starts.

The odds-on wagering choice, Perfect Sting paid $3.30, $2.30, and $2.10. License Fee returned $3.30 and $2.40. Hello Soso paid $3.20. (Chart, Equibase)

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