By Karen M. Johnson
The timing was perfect once again for Rite Moment, who won Aqueduct’s $158,100 Bed o’ Roses Handicap (gr.II) for her third consecutive stakes victory April 19.
Owned by Steve Sigler’s Winning Move Stable, Rite Moment was a 1 1/4-length win over the late-closing Lady Marlboro in the six-horse field of fillies and mares.
Ridden by Rajiv Maragh, Rite Moment pressed the pace set by Cowgirls Don’t Cry through fractions of 22.71 and 45.72 in the seven-furlong race. Rite Moment came on even terms with Cowgirls Don’t Cry, who was ridden by Alan Garcia, after a half-mile was run. But Cowgirls Don’t Cry wasn’t ready to throw in the towel, and the two battled to the furlong marker before Rite Moment was able to pull away while racing down the middle of the track. Lady Marlboro rallied along the inside to gain the runner-up spot.
Rite Moment covered the distance in 1:22.66 over a fast track. The final time represents a stakes record for the Bed o’ Roses, which has been run at its current distance since 2006.
Cowgirls Don’t Cry tired in the final furlong and finished third, 2 1/2 lengths behind the runner-up. The even-money favorite, Golden Dawn, finished fourth after running flatly and four-wide. Sutra and You Asked completed the order of finish.
“I wanted to be up close to the pace; up front of most of the horses in the race,” said Maragh, who kept busy with his whip until the finish. “There wasn’t a really true speed horse in there, but a lot of stalkers. I had a lot of horse. I thought we went kind of slow for these kinds of horses. We went pretty comfortable the first part of the race. That made me move a bit earlier because I knew we had a lot left in the tank. This filly can flat-out run.”
Rite Moment, a 4-year-old daughter of Vicar, has been on quite a roll for trainer Gary Contessa. The filly won an overnight stakes by 13 1/4 lengths at Aqueduct March 6, and followed with another score in the Distaff Handicap (gr. II) at Aqueduct March 22. Those wins came over Aqueduct’s inner track. Her Bed o’ Roses victory was on the main track.
Contessa privately purchased Rite Moment from Midwest-based trainer Frank Springer last December.
“She’s an amazing filly,” Contessa said from Ocala, Fla, where he was attending the OBS sale. “As far as the expectations go when we got her, she’s exceeded them all; she just keeps getting better and better. She came to me from the Midwest in great shape, but I guess she really loves racing on the East Coast. She’s silenced the skeptics that only thought she could win over the inner track.
“I really don’t know what I got here. She has answered every question I’ve ever asked; short, long, middle distance. What a pleasure to be associated with her. If you’re in this business long enough, great horses come along and some of them surprise you. She’s got a heart of gold. I’m really thinking she needs a little break now. We’ve nominated her to everything, so we’ll see.”
Rite Moment, the third choice, returned $9.90, $4.40, and $3.70. The exacta combining Rite Moment and Lady Marlboro paid $35.40.
The Bed o’Roses’ win increased Rite Moment’s earnings to $339,102 and her record to 6-3-0 in 12 starts. She was bred in Kentucky by Charles Nuckols Jr. & Sons.