Stacelita had no problems overcoming slow fractions or the yielding Belmont Park turf course, as she easily defeated an overmatched field by two lengths in the $500,000 Flower Bowl Invitational (gr. IT) (VIDEO) Oct. 1.
The 5-year-old French-bred mare earned a berth in the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) next month with her sixth group/grade I victory. The daughter of Monsun, owned by Martin Schwartz and trained by Chad Brown, scored her second consecutive grade I victory in the United States under Ramon Dominguez.
Sent off as the 1-2 favorite in a field of six, Stacelita covered 1 1/4 miles on the soggy turf course in 2:10.39.
Stacelita was near the back of the field and caught wide early on, as Dynaslew set an uncontested pace with Corey Nakatani aboard. The fractions were extremely slow--:26.09, :53.48, 1:20.87, and 1:46.26--with Deluxe racing in second and Gitchee Goomie and Distorted Legacy in the next group.
Stacelita made her winning move midway on the far turn, circling the field with ease and drawing alongside Dynaslew when they hit the quarter-pole. She was cut loose at the top of the lane, led by 2 1/2 lengths at the eighth-pole, and remained clear in upper stretch before being geared down at the wire.
Distorted Legacy and Rajiv Maragh finished second by 1 3/4 lengths at 42-1, with Dynaslew holding third.
“I wasn’t happy about being wide, but I was very pleased with the way she was handling herself," Dominguez said. "When she saw the light, she wanted to run. She felt like she was playing with those fillies. She was just really in control. Once she got to the backside and I tucked behind (Gitchee Goomie), I felt like she would have a pretty good kick, and she did.”
Stacelita entered off a victory in the Aug. 13 Beverly D. (gr. IT) on Arlington Park’s yielding turf course. That was her first start under Brown and her second race in the U.S. after 14 international races. The black mare was a four-time group I winner in France in 2009 and 2010, with her biggest triumph coming in the French Oaks (Fr-I) two years ago at Chantilly.
Improving to 10-2-2 from 17 lifetime starts, Stacelita upped her earnings to $2,371,241. She was bred by Jean Pierre Joseph Dubois and is out of the Dashing Blade mare Soignee.
"She is a remarkable horse and she’s had an outstanding career to this point," Brown said. "Hopefully she can cap it off with a win in the Breeders’ Cup. Most likely we will stay here until the week of the Breeders’ Cup and do all her training here. She seems to like New York."
The winner paid $3, $2.50, and $2.10. Distorted Legacy returned $15.60 and $6.30, and completed a generous $70 exacta (8-6). The trifecta (8-6-2) was worth $277.