Belleski Still Queen of Hill in Maddy 'Cap

(from Oak Tree report)
Course specialist Belleski collared Icantgoforthat in the final furlong and drew clear for a two-length victory over Buffythecenterfold in the $112,000 Sen. Ken Maddy Handicap (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares Saturday at Oak Tree.

Ridden by Victor Espinoza at 117 pounds, Belleski ran about 6 ½ furlongs in 1:12.37 on the hillside turf course, and paid $5.80, $3.80 and $2.80. John Sadler is the trainer for Jerry and Ann Moss of Los Angeles.

Buffythecenterfold rallied to finish second under Alex Solis at 116 pounds and returned $5 and $3.40. The runner-up was coupled in the wagering with eighth-place finisher Dreamers Glory as a Stronach Stables' entry. Icantgoforthat, who led to midstretch under Tyler Baze at 115 pounds, finished third and paid $8 for show.

The Maddy was the first stakes victory for Belleski, whose last two starts were a second and a third in the Osunitas and Royal Heroine handicaps. The Kentucky-bred daughter of Polish Numbers is now unbeaten in four starts on the Santa Anita turf course, including three victories down the hillside course.

Belleski is five for 10 overall and the $67,200 winner's share pushed her earnings to $238,019.

Belleski bided her time, racing in fifth place, as Icantgoforthat sailed on the lead through fractions of :21.75 and :43.56. The winner raced three wide into the stretch and blew past the leaders with a strong late kick.

"She's a tough little filly," Espinoza said. "Every time she runs down the hill she's really tough. It's going to take a good horse to beat her."

Sadler said Belleski would be pointed to the $500,000 Matriarch at Hollywood Park on Nov. 30.

"She ran so hard at Del Mar and was an unlucky loser last time (in the Osunitas)," Sadler said. "There's a mile stakes for fillies and mares at Hollywood, the Matriarch – they've shortened it up – we'll point for that."

A series of upsets triggered a $132,847 carryover into Sunday's nine-race card.

(Chart, Equibase)