England's Legend Earns First Graded Stakes Win in New York 'Cap

England's Legend, fully recovered from a splint problem, beat Gaviola by 1 1/2 lengths Saturday in the $250,000 New York Handicap (gr. IIT) for fillies and mares at Belmont Park.

England's Legend tracked Gaviola in second-place before moving to the lead in the stretch.

"I was pretty content with my position off of Gaviola and thought I had her measured throughout the whole race," said winning jockey Corey Nakatani. "She proved how good she is today, running against horses of this caliber."

Spook Express closed from last to finish third, three-quarter lengths behind Gaviola. Melody Queen, Windsong, Jazz, and Playact completed the order of finish.

England's Legend ran 1 1/4 miles in 1:59.63 on the inner turf course, and paid $9.20, $4.40, and $3.20 for her fourth victory in seven career starts. The 4-year-old French-bred daughter of Lure, making her first start since winning an allowance race at Santa Anita on March 14, earned $150,000. The win marks her first in a stakes since winning the Prix de Bagatelle last March. Christophe Clement trains England's Legend for owner Edouard de Rothschild.

"We'll see how she comes out and then take a look at races like the Beverly D (gr. IT) and Diana (gr. IIT)," said Clement. "She's not Breeders' Cup eligible, so I'll have to talk to the owner about that. We're just going to take it one race at a time for now."

Gaviola returned $3.10 and $2.70, and Spook Express paid $3.10 to show. The winning exacta combination returned $30.80. (Chart, Equibase)