Belleski successfully dueled with Intercontinental to remain unbeaten on the Santa Anita Park sod in the $100,000 Sen. Ken Maddy Handicap (gr. IIIT), winning by half a length before 10,665 on-track fans on opening day of the Oak Tree meeting.
It was a second straight Maddy win for the 5-year old John Sadler-trained mare, and her fourth win in four starts on Santa Anita's downhill turf course. "She really relishes it," said winning jockey Corey Nakatani of the 6 1/2-furlong hillside course. "She runs down there she lays her body down every time and gives her best effort. And to beat that other filly (Intercontinental) is pretty special too."
Belleski stalked pacesetter Lady Sabrina early and had her measure, but when Lady Sabrina swung wide on the home turn, Intercontinental and rider David Flores charged through on the inside. The pair fought hard for the lead down the stretch, with Belleski prevailing on the outside under a tap of Nakatani's whip in 1:12.86. The winner carried 118 pounds and paid $5.20, $2.40 and $2.10. Intercontinental carried 120 and paid $2.60 and $2.20. Acago, ridden by Victor Espinoza at 116 pounds, paid $2.20 to show as part of a three-horse entry.
Belleski has won seven times in 14 lifetime starts for owners Mr. and Mrs. Jerome Moss. She earned $60,000 for Wednesday's victory, taking her career bankroll to $344,586.
Earlier in the day, trainer Joe Herrick, jockey Cesar DeAlba and 2-year-old filly Short Route each won the first stakes of their careers in the $75,000 Cover Gal Stakes for California breds.
Short Route collared early leader Kelly's Princess at the top of the stretch and and fought off favorite Lady Truffles to win by a length, covering seven furlongs in 1:23.20. She carried 117 and paid $7, $3, and $2.80. Lady Truffles, ridden by Tyler Baze, paid $2.60 and $2.60. Home Ice, with David Flores in the saddle, paid $4.20 to show.
Short Route earned $49,095 for the win, her second in three lifetime starts.(Chart, Equibase)