Photo Credit: Chelsea Durand
OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Making her first start since winning the Grade 3, $200,000 Comely on November 29, Mathis Stable’s Bellera didn’t disappoint her backers fending off a game effort by Lucky Move in deep stretch to win the 149th renewal of the $100,000 Ladies Handicap on Sunday at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Breaking alertly from post 5 as the 1-2 mutuel favorite with Jose Lezcano aboard, Bellera was sent to the lead before 30-1 longshot Nonsensical charged to the front setting fractions of 25.59 seconds for the opening quarter-mile with the half going in 49.89.
At the three-eighths pole, Bellera moved past the leader with Lucky Move in close pursuit. Hooking up at the top of the stretch, Bellera and Lucky Move engaged in a battle to the wire with Bellera extending away in the final yards to secure the victory by three-quarters of a length.
She completed the 1 1/8 miles distance in a final time of 1:54.87 over the sloppy main track.
“She broke real good out of the gate and she was there the whole time for me,” said Lezcano, who won his fifth stakes of the Aqueduct Winter meet. “When I asked her, she gave me everything she had. She really fought hard in the stretch with the other filly [Lucky Move] to go on to win the race.”
Returning $3 for a $2 win wager, the 4-year-old Bernardini filly boosted her career earnings to $264,960 picking up her second consecutive stakes win from seven starts. She was also the sixth favorite to win from eight races on Sunday’s card.
“She broke well,” said Byron Hughes, assistant to winning trainer Todd Pletcher. “She got the lead and the three [Nonsensical] overtook the lead down the backside and Jose did a good job of waiting. I was happy he didn’t chase after her. I was glad he rode patiently. I’m glad it all worked out.”
Another Broad finished a length behind the pair in front for third followed by Entropia and Nonsensical. Annie Rocks and Our Super Nova were scratched.
Live Racing continues at Aqueduct Racetrack on Monday for a special Martin Luther King Memorial Holiday nine-nine race card featuring the $100,000 Interborough. First post is 12:30 Eastern.