Belterra Returns With Sharp Allowance Win at Churchill Downs

Belterra took the lead in mid-stretch and drew away to a 2 3/4-length victory over Netherland in Thursday's $61,100 featured allowance for fillies and mares, 3-years-old and up at Churchill Downs.

Ridden by Jon Court, Belterra, who skipped the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) after having throat surgery in mid-April. With Thursday's victory under her belt, the 1 1/8-mile Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park may be next on her agenda. Take Charge Lady is also being prepared for the Mother Goose.

"Everything went as well as we had hoped," said Ian Wilkes, assistant to trainer Carl Nafzger. "This was a logical step. Coming off the surgery we wanted her to run a one-turn race and have her do the right things. From here, we'll talk to Carl (Nafzger) and Bob Manfuso and discuss her next race. It could be the Mother Goose as her next step."

Belterra covered the seven furlongs in 1:22.49 on a track labeled "good." She paid $4, $2.60, and $2.10. Netherland returned $2.60 and $2.40, while Senorita Ziggy, another 2 1/4 lengths back in third, paid $2.60 to show.

Owned by Robert Manfuso, Belterra, a 3-year-old daughter of 1990 Kentucky Derby winner Unbridled, earned $38,225 to increase her lifetime total to $313,859. The victory was her fourth in six career starts. As a juvenile, she won the Golden Rod Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs.

Runner-up Netherland is a highly regarded South American import trained by Bob Baffert. The daughter of Roy was the 2001 champion 3-year-old filly in Argentina, winning the Gran Premio Seleccion -- Argentine Oaks (Arg-I). After winning four of 11 races in Argentine, she has finished fourth and fifth in two graded stakes appearances for Baffert, including a fourth-place finish in the Humana Distaff Handicap (gr. I) on Kentucky Derby day at Churchill.