Odds-on favorite Dubai Escapade set an intimidating pace, then shook off the challenge of Smokey Glacken in upper stretch and powered home to win the $150,000 Vagrancy Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares by six lengths at Belmont Park Sunday.
Breaking from the outside in the field of six, Dubai Escapade won the battle for the lead when hustled out of the gate by Edgar Prado and opened up a two-length advantage on Smokey Glacken. Prado gave his charge a break on the turn as Smokey Glacken and Javier Castellano drew even coming into the home stretch.
But Dubai Escapade, putting in a dominating performance, soon put her rival away under slight urging and drove to her fifth consecutive victory in an excellent time of 1:15 1/5 for the 6 1/2-furlong distance on a fast track.
Dubai Escapade and Smokey Glacken each carried top weight of 120 pounds.
A $2 million sale at Barretts in March 2004, Dubai Escapade's last win came in the seven-furlong Madison (gr. II) in similar front-running fashion at Keeneland in April. She's undefeated in four starts in the United States for trainer Eoin Harty.
"She's a super fast filly," Harty said. "I just try to stay out of her way. She's done nothing wrong for us. Today, she went to the lead like she always does and they couldn't catch her."
It was the second important sprint victory of the weekend at Belmont for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum's Darley Stable, whose Songster, also ridden by Prado, captured the seven-furlong Woody Stephens Breeders' Cup (gr. II) Saturday.
Dubai Escapade ($3.50, $2.70, $2.30) set fractions of :22 and :44 3/5 before taking command and widening her advantage through the lane. High Button Shoes ($8.80, $3.90), the longest shot on the board at odds of 21-1, overcame a bad start under Eibar Coa to gain the place spot by a head over Magnolia Jackson ($4) and Norberto Arroyo Jr., who trailed the field into the stretch.
Grecian Lover, Smokey Glacken and Leave Me Alone trailed.
The Jimmy Jerkens-trained Smokey Glacken had won three straight graded stakes races prior to the Vagrancy, but hadn't raced since March 25 when she captured the Distaff Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) by a neck over Magnolia Jackson on the Aqueduct inner track.
Dubai Escapade, a 4-year-old filly by Awesome Again
-Sassy Pants (Saratoga Six) has five wins in six lifetime starts with earnings of $271,050.