Already a stakes winner in her native Ireland, Off Limits picked up her first stakes victory in the United States Sept. 23 in a sweeping last-to-first move in the Noble Damsel Stakes (G3T) at Belmont Park.
Martin Schwartz's Mastercraftsman mare raced unhurried at the back of the five-horse field before circling her competition and easily pulling away from pacesetter Sassy Little Lila in the middle of the stretch.
"I think she ran exceptionally well. Joel (Rosario) rode her really patiently and gave her a nice ride," said Cherie DeVaux, assistant trainer to Chad Brown. "The one-mile distance seems to be her affinity. Chad and Mr. Schwartz gave her some time off between this year and last year, which seems to have benefited her tremendously."
Sassy Little Lila set fractions of :23.67 and :46.78 for a half-mile under jockey Julien Leparoux, as Time and Motion was hustled into second under jockey Jose Lezcano on the backstretch. Celestine lost a bit of ground after getting shuffled back early under jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. and went three wide going into the turn.
With six furlongs going in a quick 1:09.45 over the firm turf, Sassy Little Lila tried to maintain her lead into the stretch but was no match for Off Limits who was charging full speed ahead after angling five wide into the stretch. Under a hand ride from jockey Joel Rosario, Off Limits easily kicked clear of the field in a time of 1:32.51.
"It seemed like it was an honest pace in front of me and I just listened to the instructions," Rosario said. "Chad Brown told me to let her get comfortable and let her come with a run at the end and she did. She really sprinted turning for home. I tipped her on the outside turning for home and it was all her."
The winner returned $5.40, $2.50, and $2.10 across the board.
Saturday's graded stakes win was Off Limit's third victory in the U.S. since her first start at Gulfstream Park in February of 2016 after arriving from Ireland. Winless in 2016, she won a one-mile allowance race at Belmont over the turf, off a nine-month layoff. She finished second by a neck to grade 2 winner On Leave in the Perfect Sting Stakes July 1 and then picked up another victory in an optional-claiming allowance event going 1 1/16 miles Aug. 12 at Saratoga Race Course.
Bred by Carlingford Breeding Syndicate in Ireland, Off Limits was a $30,763 purchase by Tom King at the 2012 Goffs November foals sale. Improving her record to 5-2-1 in 15 starts, she now has earnings of $334,680.