Finder's Fee, who encountered trouble in her last two starts, had clear sailing Friday and came charging down the stretch to win the Acorn Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
The 3-year-old filly was forced to alter course in the stretch in her last two races, the Nassau County Handicap and Comely Stakes, in which she finished fourth and third, respectively.
"I wanted her back and I wanted her buried behind horses because, sometimes, she likes to get into a little bit of trouble," said winning trainer Shug McGaughey.
In the Acorn, John Velazquez let heavy favorite Roxelana and Larry Melancon ease to the lead, then moved to the outside and led Finder's Fee find her best stride late. C'Est L'Amour was also running late, Roxelana passed by both in the final sixteenth of a mile.
Finder's Fee won by three-quarters of a length, with C'Est L'Amour a neck in front of Roxelana, who lost for the first time in five starts.
Heavy longshot Imadeed made the early lead, but Roxelana took the lead in the stretch and appeared on her way to another victory. Roxelana, on the rail under Larry Melancon, tired in the final stages of the one-turn mile race.
Finder's Fee is a homebred for Ogden Phipps by Storm Cat out of the Mr. Prospector mare Fantastic Find. She has now won five of 13 starts. The time for the mile race was 1:37.38.
Finder's Fee was also a grade I winner at two at Belmont, winning the track's Matron Stakes.
William (Blackie) Huffman, who conditions the beaten favorite, said the filly had no problems. "We had no trouble in the race," Huffman said. "We just got beat by some good fillies." (Chart, Equibase