Pebbles May be Right Spot for Andover Lady

(from Belmont report)
Andover Lady didn't fire her best shot when a well-beaten sixth behind Indy Five Hundred in the Garden City Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IT), but trainer John Kimmel may have found a good spot for her to rebound in Monday's $100,000-added Pebbles Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Belmont Park.

Contested at nine furlongs over the inner turf, the Pebbles drew a field of nine 3-year-old fillies led by Betty's Wish, who was an easy winner of the Starine at Belmont a few weeks ago for Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel. Devotion Unbridled and Beauty on Duty were entered as main track only.

The Pebbles, the traditional Columbus Day feature here at Belmont, will go as the ninth race on Monday's 10-race card. Post time for the Pebbles is 5:12 p.m. Eastern. First race post time is 1p.m.

Many overlooked Andover Lady in her career debut in May. She paid $48.60 to win after launching an eye-catching run off the far turn.

That was the last time the public ignored her.

Andover Lady was favored in two subsequent starts in allowance company and ran well, losing one by a head and winning the other comfortably after a ridiculously wide trip at Saratoga. Her near-perfect record and ability to overcome adversity prompted Kimmel to enter Andover Lady in Belmont's Garden City off a mere entry-level allowance win.

"I always thought she had ability and was particularly impressed with her win at Saratoga," Kimmel said. "She was five wide around the far turn, but still had great acceleration when it counted."

Whatever the reason, Andover Lady didn't move forward off that good-looking allowance win at the Spa. The winner, Indy Five Hundred, was the morning line favorite for Saturday's Queen Elizabeth (gr. IT) at Keeneland and Dimitrova, the beaten favorite, returned to win Belmont's Flower Bowl Invitational (gr. IT) over the likes of Heat Haze and Riskaverse.

"This filly picked a bad time to take a step backwards," Kimmel said. "She had a bad hair day. She got upset in the paddock and didn't fire. She's trained good since and I'm expecting a better performance. Any give in the ground will be a plus."

Andover Lady, a daughter of Kris S.-Hard to Copy, by Mr. Prospector, breaks from post 2 with jockey Edgar Prado.

Trainer Christophe Clement, who won this race two years ago with Love N' Kiss S., aims for his second Pebbles victory with Where We Left Off. Bred in Great Britain, Where We Left Off is 2-1-0 from four starts. She recently had a two-race winning streak snapped when second behind Pebbles-rival Betty's Wish in the Sept. 24 Starine.

"I don't think we've seen her best year," Clement said. "The thing I like about her is she's is improving race by race. We'll take her over there and see what happens."

Where We Left Off, a closer, will be ridden by jockey Jose Santos from the rail.

Edmund Gann's Betty's Wish has won her last three starts by a combined 18 3/4 lengths. She handled the switch to turf racing in her last start when taking the eight-furlong Starine by a little more than two lengths under jockey John Velazquez, also riding Monday. Trainer Bobby Frankel is shooting for his second consecutive Pebbles win, having won this race last year with Glia.

Betty's Wish breaks from post seven as the 116-pound highweight. She spots her foes one to five pounds.

$100,000-added Pebbles Handicap (gr. IIIT), 3-year-old fillies, 1 1/8 mile on turf
1. Where We Left Off, Christophe Clement, Jose Santos, 113
2. Andover Lady, John Kimmel, Edgar Prado, 113
3. Harmonist, Del Carroll, Jose Espinoza, 111
4. Little Miss Pamela, Richard Trimmer, Richard Migliore, 115
5. Mystery Itself, Michael Matz, Javier Castellano, 111
6. Boom Bah Yay, Joe Orseno, Mike Luzzi, 112
7. Betty's Wish, Bobby Frankel, John Velazquez, 116
also eligible
8. Devotion Unbridled, Bill Mott, No Rider, 120
9. Beauty on Duty, James Bond, No Rider, 115