Life At Ten, appearing at Gulfstream Park in her first start since a controversial attempt in the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (gr. I) last fall, ran second in an optional claiming allowance April 10.
The one-turn mile affair worth $53,400 on a fast main track was won by The Isabella Angel. She came from off the pace for jockey Fernando Jara to win by five lengths in a time of 1:36.53.
Heavily favored, Life At Ten, a 6-year-old Malibu Moon mare ridden by John Velazquez, forced a brisk pace while battling on the inside of early leader Jehan. After taking the lead briefly after a half-mile, Life At Ten dropped back leaving the final turn before coming on again in deep stretch after being passed on the outside by The Isabella Angel.
Cathy DeBartolo's two-time grade I winner last year nosed Jehan for second with a late surge.
“She ran great. There was no plan with her. I was just going to see where she took me,” Velazquez.said.
Anthony Sciametta saddled Life At Ten in the absence of trainer Todd Pletcher.
Life At Ten lost contact with the field and was pulled up by Velazquez in the Ladies' Classic as the second choice Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs. Pletcher, Velazquez and chief state steward John Veitch were the subjects of a four-month investigation by the Kentucky Racing Commission.
The probe was prompted in part by remarks made by Velazquez on national television to the effect that Life At Ten was not warming up properly. But he did not report any problems to the track veterinarian before going into the starting gate.
Charged with three violations of racing rules by the Kentucky Racing Commission, Velazquez agreed April 6 to settle the case with a $10,000 fine while not admitting guilt. Pletcher was found blameless in the incident while the Veitch case remains open.
Life At time had been working in consistent fashion at Palm Meadows training center for her return.
After an opening quarter-mile in :24.09, Life At Ten reached the half-mile point leading Jehan by a head in :46.50 before the latter took control after six furlongs in 1:10.06.
Near the three-eighths pole Jehan, Life At Ten and Musical Romance were three abreast, with The Isabella Angel racing a couple of lengths behind them. Jehan went on from there, forging a clear lead in the lane before giving way in the final furlong. The Isabella Angel, swinging wide in the lane for Jara, burst home to get the lead near the sixteenth pole and she drew off quickly. Life At Ten made an encouraging late move to nab the place spot.
Giuseppe Iadisernia trains the winning 4-year-old daughter of Woodman for Alberto Acosta. The Isabella Angel went off as the second choice and paid $13 to win. She has three wins and three seconds in seven starts at the one-mile distance.
Life At Ten won the Ogden Phipps Handicap and Beldame Stakes (both gr. I) in New York last year during a campaign in which she won five of six starts before the Breeders' Cup. Her immediate goal, according to Pletcher, is to defend her Ogden Phipps title at Belmont Park. She owns a career mark of 8-6-2 in 18 starts and earnings of more then $1.1 million