Indian Flare scored her first graded stakes win.
Although she entered the day winless in two starts at Belmont Park, Indian Flare had a 2-3-1 record from six starts at the distance. She also was switching to the main track after two starts on the turf for trainer Bobby Frankel, the most recent a third-place finish in the Las Cienegas (gr. IIIT) on the hillside lawn at Santa Anita April 15.
The early work for the six-horse field was done by Any Limit, who was pressed by Mary Delaney, with Indian Flare, Magnolia Jackson and Oprah Winney in close pursuit. Nothing But Fun trailed, but seem to be in the right position for her late run. Fractions went in :22.19; :44.40 and 1:09.61 on the fast track.
Approaching the quarter-pole, the rail opened up for Indian Flare and jockey Javier Castellano, while Oprah Winney was rallying wide with Edgar Prado.
Any Limit backed out mid-stretch and Oprah Winney took a short lead from Indian Flare near the sixteenth pole. But Indian Flare, a 5-year-old daughter of 1994 champion sprinter Cherokee Run, fought back in the final strides to win in 1:16.44.
“Around the three-eighths pole, I had so much horse and Coa (Eibar Coa aboard Any Limit) opened the rail a little bit,” Castellano said. “At the quarter-pole, I said `Now, I got to take a shot.’ I tried to hold her a little until the eighth-pole and then really finish. It worked out perfect. At the sixteenth-pole, I thought I was going to get beat. The other horse (Oprah Winney), I think, hung. My filly never took off, but she was very steady. She ran great because on that move, she gave me everything.”
Frankel, watching the race from California, was impressed by the heart Indian Flare demonstrated late in the race.
“The first time I ran here, she relaxed well, but then she started running off,” Frankel said. “When we got her back here last year, she started to settle again. I thought she was going to get beat today, to be honest with you. It looked like (Rick) Dutrow’s horse was going to run by her, but she showed a lot of courage.”
Frankel said that the $250,000 Ballerina Breeders’ Cup (gr. II) for fillies and mares at seven furlongs at Saratoga Race Course on Aug. 26 could be a logical summer goal for Indian Flare.
Indian Flare paid $7.30, $4 and $2.50 for her seventh win in 17 starts. She has been in the money in 14 of her 17 starts and has earned $408,236 with Sunday's $90,000 purse.
It was a tough loss for Oprah Winney, the Barbara Fritchie (gr. II) winner who finished nearly six lengths clear and returned $3.80 and $2.40.
Any Limit ($2.60) held for show by 1 1/2 lengths, and Nothing But Fun got a head in front of Magnola Jackson for fourth. Mary Delaney finished more than 21 lengths back after tiring in the stretch.