With a final surge for red-hot Cornelio Velasquez in deep stretch, Noisette snatched victory away from odds-on choice Shaconage in the $150,000 Modesty Handicap (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares on the Arlington Park turf Saturday.
The Modesty win gave Velasquez a sweep of the three Chicago stakes Saturday, Arlington Million Preview Day. Velasquez captured the $250,000 American Derby (gr. IIT) aboard Gun Salute and the $200,000 Arlington Handicap (gr. IIIT) with Cool Conductor earlier in the program.
"Every jockey needs good horses to ride, and I got lucky today with three of them," said the Panamanian Velasquez.
Bill Mott, who trains Gun Salute, also conditions Noisette, who earned $90,000 for owner and breeder Haras Santa Maria de Aras S.A. The 5-year-old mare by Broad Brush-Captivant (Deputy Minister) snapped a six-race losing streak while notching her first graded stakes win.
Breaking from the rail, Noisette settled in mid-pack before angling out turning for home and finishing under a brisk hand ride to defeat Shaconage, Gary Stevens riding. The half-length winning margin came in a time of 1:57 1/5 for the 1 3/16-mile distance on a good track. Spring Season came on from far back to get third with Ramon Dominguez, a head in front of pacesetting Ide Be a Lady, who led into deep stretch at odds of 51-1.
Shaconage tracked Ide Be a Lady through fractions of :24, :48, 1:14 and 1:38 before edging to the lead under strong urging from Stevens. Although a half-length ahead of the third-place finisher, she didn't have enough left to finish with Noisette, who was ridden out in a well-timed finish by Velasquez.
Stevens blamed himself afterward.
"I had a great trip," he said. "I never should have hit her. As soon as I did, she pulled up. The trainer (Mitch Shirota) told me to ride her hard the last sixteenth, but as soon as I hit her, she quit. She was happy before I did that. I thought I was home free. I should have just left her alone."
The Kentucky-bred Noisette last won in October when she captured the Gaviiola at Belmont Park. She was coming off a third-place finish in the Lady Canterbury June 19 and was making her first start at Arlington Park. Noisette won for the sixth time in 20 lifetime starts and boasts earnings of $382,204.
"I think this filly stepped up big today," said Ken McCarthy, assistant to Mott. "We knew she would run very well but we also knew it was a tough race. We thought she deserved a shot today. She'd been training super. She ran a good race at Canterbury (third in the Lady Canterbury Breeders' Cup June 19) and Bill thought she'd fit in good here today."
The second choice in the field of 11, she paid a generous $12, $4.80, and $3.20. Shaconage, the 9-10 pick, returned $2.60 and $2.10 while losing for the 11th straight time. Spring Season's show was $3.40.
After Ide Be a Lady came Tisket a Tasket, Pretty Jane, Cape Town Lass, Humorous Miss, Make My Heart Sing, Atlantic Frost, and Ms. Purr.