Exogenous survived an inquiry to win the Beldame.

Exogenous survived an inquiry to win the Beldame.

Exogenous Survives Inquiry to Win Beldame

Gazelle Handicap (gr. I) winner Exogenous survived a stewards' inquiry to earn her second straight grade I victory, winning Saturday's $750,000 Beldame Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park. After describing an "S" shape while weaving her way to the wire -- bumping Spain repeatedly in the process – Exogenous completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.20 on a fast track and finished 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Flute.

"If the 5 (Exogenous) doesn't bother us, we win the race. This is surprising," said Spain's trainer, D. Wayne Lukas.

Spain finished a head behind Flute.

"Victor (Espinoza, aboard Spain) said she had to check twice," the Hall of Fame conditioner added.

Flint "Scotty" Schulhofer, trainer of Exogenous, was nervous during the inquiry.

"I'm too nervous to think," he said while the stewards' decision was pending. "She was all over the place, but I don't think she bothered anybody."

It couldn't have helped soothe Schulhofer's nerves that a Bobby Frankel trainee's number (Flute) was second on the board while Exogenous' number flashed. Earlier this year, Frankel earned two grade I wins via disqualification within the space of minutes.

Flute's jockey Jerry Bailey was furious with the decision after the race. "They said they wanted to talk to me but they put up the official first and never gave me a chance to talk."

A diplomatic Frankel, though, feels the stewards made the right call. "I wouldn't have taken her down either," he said. "It looked like she bothered her a little but not enough to affect the outcome."

"This horse is a little bit funny in the stretch," said winning jockey Javier Castellano. "She really doesn't like being hit with the whip and she tries to lug in. I don't think her swerving cost anyone else the race. She's improved so much over the last few months. Her trainer has done a great job."

Critical Eye finished fourth, followed by Serra Lake, Beautiful Pleasure, Pentatonic, and Irving's Baby.

For Exogenous the win marks her fifth in 12 starts, for which she earned $450,000. Aside from her two grade I wins at Belmont Park, Exogenous also finished second in the Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) and the Alabama Stakes (gr. I) and third in the Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I). She is owned by Centaur Farms.

Exogenous paid $9.20, $3.20, and $2.40. Flute returned $2.50 and $2.10 and completed the $16.40 exacta. Spain paid $3.10 to show. (Chart, Equibase)