Intercontinental broke poorly and had to check down the backside, but once Jerry Bailey found racing room, she spurted to the lead and won the $250,000 Just a Game Breeders' Cup (gr. IIT) Saturday at Belmont Park.
Intercontinental was on the hedge down the backside and had no racing room at all. She finally found a spot between horses in the turn, and down the stretch split horses to get a gutsy 1 1/4-length win over Vanguardia in the mile turf race.
"I just had to wait," Bailey said. "I could see it on paper that there was very little speed. It would be a decent pace if Bobby's other filly (entrymate Etoile Montante) went, but I didn't think she would. In those kind of races, you just have to be patient and hope there is a hole you can get to in time. I knew I would have enough horse if I could just find the seam."
Intercontinental remained a perfect three-for-three since arriving in this country for her 4-year-old season. She raced in France at two and three where she was a listed stakes winner and group stakes-placed for trainer Andre Fabre.
A homebred of Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms, Intercontinental is trained by Bobby Frankel. She is by Danehill and out of the Kahyasi mare Hasili.
"The only knock against this filly (Intercontinental) is that she gets a little rank in her races," Frankel said. "If she gets to settle, she could maybe be the best filly in the country. She is an unbelievably bred filly. When I started training her, she acted real nice. In the morning, she is quiet and relaxed. In the afternoon, she gets it on. It's just a matter of finding a spot for her, that's all."
Her next spot will likely be Saratoga's $500,000 Diana Handicap (gr. IT) at nine furlongs on the turf on July 31. The gap between races shouldn't be a concern.
Intercontinental won an allowance race at Santa Anita on March 28 and then took the Jenny Wiley Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland on April 18.
Intercontinental was part of an entry with Etoile Montante, who finished third. They were 3-5.
Riskaverse, who was making her first start since last November, made the early lead, but faded as the fractions were :23.66 and :46.90. The six furlong split was 1:10.82 and Intercontinental covered the mile in 1:33.88.
The entry paid $3.40, $2.60, and $2.60 while Vanguardia returned $10.60 and $6.20. Intercontinental won by 1 1/4 lengths.
Riskaverse was fourth, followed by Dedication, Wonder Again, Coney Kitty and Fast Cookie. Caught in the Rain was scratched.