Touching Beauty won a roughly run $100,000 Comely Stakes (gr. III) when odds-on choice She'll Be Doggone nearly went down after being shut off at the rail near mid-stretch at Aqueduct April 10.
With Mike Luzzi aboard, Touching Beauty earned her first stakes win by a half-length for trainer James Jerkens. The daughter of Tapit --Victory Road, by Ikari, was sent off at odds of 5-1 in the field of eight 3-year-old fillies. The final time was 1:37.90 for the one-turn mile contested on a fast track.
Challenging on the outside of pacesetters Volare Cantare and Anchorage in the stretch, Touching Beauty had gained the lead as 9-10 shot She'll Be Doggone, walled off behind horses on the turn, mounted her bid through a narrow opening at the rail approaching the three-sixteenths pole. Jockey Edgar Prado was forced to hit the brakes sharply on She'll Be Doggone and the filly lost all chance after being bumped hard by the tiring Anchorage, who had ducked into the rail under Fernando Jara.
She'll Be Doggone was apparently not injured and was able to finish up the race in seventh.
Touching Beauty, meantime, edged clear to a one-length lead at the eighth pole and dug in gamely when challenged by the fast-closing Speightful Affair, ridden by David Cohen, to win by a half-length. C C's Pal, also finishing willingly, was a half-length farther back in third.
“My trip was perfect,” said Luzzi, aboard the filly for the first time. “I didn’t want her to angle out so soon, but I didn’t want her to get trapped either. She just stayed there and waited for me to call on her, and when I asked her, I had a little horse, and she finished up nice.”
Anchorage and Volare Cantare towed the field through quarter-mile fractions of :23.40 and :47.70 before yielding.
Touching Beauty, coming off a first-level allowance win going seven furlongs at Gulfstream Park March 14, won for the second time in three starts this year. This was her first win in New York since breaking her maiden in her debut at Saratoga in August.
“She’s probably improving with more racing,” said Jerkens, who trains Touching Beauty for Gainesway Stable and Joseph Cornacchia. “Down in Florida, she raced once in the beginning of the meet, and once at the end, and her last was a nice, seven-furlong prep. If there ever was a time she was going to win going a mile, this was it."
Jerkens said Touching Beauty could run in the one-mile Acorn Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park June 5. The Prioress Stakes (gr. I) at six furlongs July 4 is also a possibility, he said.
Touching Beauty earned $60,000 for her third win in seven starts, boosting her bankroll to $181,450.
Gainesway Thoroughbreds and Winchell Thoroughbreds bred the winner in Kentucky. Touching Beauty sold for $235,000 as a 2-year-old at Fasig-Tipton's Florida sale in February 2009.
Touching Beauty paid $12, $7.30, and $4.90. Speightful Affair, in her graded stakes debut for Steve Asmussen, came on well and returned $8.50 and $4.30. C C's Pal, who bid four wide under Eibar Coa to get the show spot, paid $6.10.
Indian Burn, Volare Cantare, Anchorage, She’ll Be Doggone, and Roman Chestnut followed.