Wildcat Bettie B Pounces for Pino in Victory Ride

(from Saratoga report)
Delaware Park-based trainer Larry Jones came to Saratoga Race Course with Oasis Racing's grade I-winning Wildcat Bettie B and brought Maryland-based jockey Mario Pino with him to take the $110,700 Victory Ride (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies by a length Thursday.

With six career wins in nine starts, Wildcat Bettie B extended her winning streak to three races, running the 6 furlongs in 1:10.81.

Favored by the crowd of 18,111 at odds of 2-1, Wildcat Bettie B was taken back to last early, well off the pace set by G City Gal and Original Spin that saw opening fractions of :21.98 and :45.05.

Pino kept Wildcat Bettie B, the winner of Belmont Park's Prioress (gr. I) last month, on the rail and when a hole opened as Original Spin fell back, he guided her to the front.

"In the last two, she's come from way back," Jones said. "That was my fourth start at Saratoga. I was starting to panic. It was time. I had to bring a grade one winner here to win a grade three. Thank goodness they were running fast because we got squeezed back. It all played out well and we were very fortunate. You're kind of limited where you can run with a three-year-old filly, if you want to stay against three-year-old fillies."

Pino, who ranks among the top 20 all-time leading jockeys with nearly 5,800 victories, demonstrated what a top jockey can do when he knows his horse.

"There was a lot of speed in the race," Pino said. "She has some speed, too, if you use it. With the way the race came up, I had to sit still because they were going pretty fast. I just rode her the same way that I did in her last race. At the quarter-pole, we were still three or four lengths out of it. I said to myself, `If she keeps this run going, we have a shot to win it.' When she got clear, she took off."

A daughter of Meadowlake, Wildcat Bettie B returned $6.60, $3.60 and $3.10.

G City Gal ($5.80, $4.50), who led by 2 1/2 lengths for John Velazquez at the furlong marker, lasted for second by two lengths, while Khalila $5.50) and Jose Santos necked Cherokee Jewel for the show.

Trailing were Misty Rosette, Summer Girlfriend, Original Spin and Any Limit.

One race earlier, trainer Jimmy Jerkens snapped an 0-for-34 losing streak dating back to June 21 when Lemon Drop Gal won the $72,000 Grab the Green at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf for jockey Kent Desormeaux.

(Chart, Equibase)