West Point Thoroughbreds' 5-year-old mare Belle of the Hall will head to California for the $1 million Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park Nov. 3, the partnership group announced Oct. 23.
The daughter of Graeme Hall is coming off a neck victory for trainer Tom Albertrani in the seven-furlong Valor Lady Stakes at Belmont Park Oct. 3, where she ran for purse money only after she was inadvertently scratched the morning of the race.
"This mare looks and trains as good as ever," Albertrani said in a West Point release. "She's been within two lengths of some of the division leaders this year. There should be a ton of speed in the race, and things could set up very well for her."
With six wins to her credit, Belle of the Hall has earned $433,170 in her career. As a 3-year-old she captured the Jostle and Catinca Stakes, and was third in the Test Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course. This year she won an allowance race at Gulfstream Park and was second in the Marta Stakes at Belmont before finishing a closing fourth in three straight graded stakes events, including the Ballerina (gr. I) at Saratoga.
"After the Valor Lady, Tom and I looked at all options," said West Point president Terry Finley. "This mare is in a good form cycle right now and deserves a shot in the big dance. We met with the partners to talk about the decision, and they're very, very excited. We have a sound, hard-knocking mare on our hands who is coming off one of the best efforts of her career."
Belle of the Hall worked a half mile in 49:71 Oct. 21 at Belmont and is expected to have her final breeze there in preparation for the Breeders' Cup early next week before flying to California Oct. 30 along with a number of New York-based Breeders' Cup contenders.
Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. has the return call after guiding the mare to victory last time out.
Belle of the Hall is entered in the Fasig-Tipton November Sale Nov. 5 in Lexington. She will be consigned by Vinery Sales, agent, as Hip No. 24.
Bred in Florida by Leon Edward's Do Little Farm out of the Judge T C mare Vines of Justice, she was a $340,000 purchase in 2009 at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s select sale of 2-year-olds in training, was a 2008 Keeneland September yearling sale purchase for $155,000, and sold for $62,000 as a weanling at the 2007 OBS Fall mixed sale.