Life At Ten comes home strong to take the Ogden Phipps Handicap.<br><a target="blank" href="">Order This Photo</a>

Life At Ten comes home strong to take the Ogden Phipps Handicap.
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Coglianese Photos

No Catching Life At Ten in Ogden Phipps

Fast-improving filly defeats odds-on choice Unrivaled Belle at Belmont Park.

Life At Ten overcame a slight stumble at the start to record her fifth consecutive win and first grade I score in the $245,000 Ogden Phipps Handicap (gr. I) (VIDEO) at Belmont Park June 12.

With John Velazquez aboard, Life At Ten was not deterred after setting a fast pace in the 1 1/16-mile Phipps, opening up a big lead on 3-5 favorite Unrivaled Belle in upper stretch and finishing strongly to win by 2 3/4 lengths. The final time was 1:40.72 over a fast Belmont main track.

Todd Pletcher trains the winning 5-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon --Rahrahsixboombah, by Rahy, for owner Cynthia DeBartolo. The chestnut mare captured the Sixty Sails Handicap (gr. III) for her first graded stakes win in her most recent start April 17.

Unrivaled Belle, who defeated 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra in her last start, tracked Life At Ten throughout in second. She held off the late-running Funny Moon by a head for second.

Breaking from between Funny Moon, at the rail, and Unrivaled Belle to her outside in the compact field of five, Life At Ten was a step slow away after stumbling but of the gate. She recovered quickly, however, and held a narrow edge over Unrivaled Belle, ridden by Kent Desormeaux, after than opening quarter-mile of :23.22. Funny Moon dropped back to fourth, behind Manitoba Miss.

Life At Ten quickened the tempo to assume a one-length lead, taking them through a half-mile in :45.55 and six furlongs in 1:08.40. On the final turn, Funny Moon and jockey Alan Garcia began to cut into a seven-length gap but Life At Ten kept the pressure on, inching away from Unrivaled Belle, who had challenged at the quarter pole, when they reached the top of the stretch.

Velazquez had Life At Ten in control by three lengths mid-stretch and she kep to the task through the final furlong under steady right-handed encouragement.

“I gave her a little help at the five-sixteenths pole, she quickened up, and it was all the horse from there on,” said Velazquez.

Funny Moon appeared to be going right past Unrivaled Belle on the outside in the drive, but Unrivaled Belle held her off with determination to land the runner-up spot.

Unrivaled Belle, who was going for her first grade I win for trainer Bill Mott after upsetting Rachel Alexandra in the La Troienne Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs April 30, lost for the first time in three starts at Belmont. The grade I winner Funny Moon also suffered a rare loss at Belmont, where she has now won four of six races.

“I thought she was going to be able to handle the winner, but the winner was too good today,” said Desormeaux in reference to the beaten favorite.

Life At Ten, making her first appearance on Belmont's main track, recorded her fourth straight added-money tally. Her career mark improved to 6-5-1 in 13 races with earnings of $459,267 after collecting $150,000 for the Phipps victory.

“She’s been a very generous filly for us and I’m proud to have won a grade I with her,” said Jonathan Thomas, assistant Pletcher. “The main thing with her is not so much where she is, as just staying out of her way.  She looked comfortable and really happy out there, and was never under any real pressure.”

Nickelback Farm bred the winner in Kentucky.

Sent off as the second choice, Life At Ten carried 116 pounds and paid $6.60, $2.70 and $2.10. The 119-pound high weight Unrivaled Belle returned $2.40 and $2.10 while completing an $11.40 exacta. Funny Moon, 2 3/4-length winner of the Shuvee Handicap (gr. II) in her last start for Christophe Clement, was $2.10 to show.

Manitoba Miss and Pumpkin Shell trailed.