Queenie Belle Hands Tamara Princess First Defeat

Gary Seidler's Queenie Belle earned the second grade II victory of her career, winning the $209,400 Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) by 1 1/4 lengths Saturday at Santa Anita. With Brice Blanc in the irons, 4-year-old Queenie Belle completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.64 on a fast track.

"Today I got a little lucky that Tamara Princess pressed (Favorite Funtime) and that helped my filly," said Blanc, who tracked those two from third during the early going. "She needed the last race after seven months off. She had been working great so I knew she was going to be tough today, especially because she loves this track. My filly has got the maturity now, she's got a lot of class."

Letter of Intent finished second, less than a length ahead of Nany's Sweep. Favorite Funtime finished fourth, followed by Cee Dreams and Tamara Princess.

The loss mars Tamara Princess' perfect record. The South American-bred 3-year-old is a full sister of champion Riboletta.

"I'm really disappointed; I'm kind of at a loss for words," said jockey Mike Smith of Tamara Princess' performance. "She was really on her toes, she went into the gate fine and she broke well. About halfway down the backside, she just kind of dropped in on me. I didn't know what was going on, I was hoping she didn't bleed and she seemed to be traveling fine. She usually hits that far turn on her left lead and accelerates -- every single time she's done it. Today she didn't. I asked her to see if I could get anything out of her but there was no response, so I didn't abuse her."

Prior to the Lady's Secret, the Ben Cecil-trained Queenie Belle (Bertrando--Lady Argyle, by Don B.) earned a grade II win in the Princess Stakes. She also won the restricted California Cup Matron Handicap and finished second in the Hollywood Oaks (gr. II). The California-bred earned $126,240 for the win, her sixth in 18 starts. She was bred by Marshall Naify and Edward Nahem.

"The (Breeders' Cup Distaff) is a one-turn mile and an eighth," said Cecil. "I don't think a mile and one eighth his her best trip, but it is a one-turn race this year, which would be to her favor. To me, there's no outstanding dirt filly, so if Gary (Seidler) wants to put the money up and take a shot. ... She is Breeders' Cup eligible, but not her sire, so I believe the supplemental fee would be $40,000. I know Gary would be keen to take a shot, so we'll see how we go."

The second wagering choice, Queenie Belle returned $7.20, $4.80, and $3. Letter of Intent paid $11.80 and $4.80. Nany's Sweep returned $3.80 to show. The $1 exacta combination paid $64.40. (Chart, Equibase)