Bob Lothenbach’s Bell’s the One displayed a powerful late kick in the Churchill Downs stretch to run down speedy pacesetter Break Even and win Saturday’s 17th running of the $100,000 Winning Colors presented by Finlandia (Grade III) by three lengths. Mia Mischief, the 4-5 favorite, finished another 2 ½ lengths back in third.
Ridden by Corey Lanerie and trained by Neil Pessin, Bell’s the One ran six furlongs over a fast track in a swift 1:08.70 to collect her fourth career stakes win. Last fall, the 4-year-old daughter of Majesticperfection won the $250,000 Raven Run (GII) at Keeneland.
Break Even was the expected leader in the field of eight fillies and mares and she delivered while zipping through an opening quarter mile in :21.28 and the half in :44.51. Mia Mischief, the winner of last spring’s Distaff (GI) at Churchill Downs, tracked close behind in second with Bell’s the One unhurried in sixth. Bell’s the One was roused for her best run at the head of the stretch, drew even with Break Even at the sixteenth pole and drew away with ease in the final stages.
“She is really talented,” Lanerie said. “When she switches leads like that she has such a strong turn of foot and really finishes strong.”
The victory was worth $60,140, which pushed her career earnings to $461,240 from a record of 6-2-0 in 12 starts.
Sent to post at odds of 13-1, Bell’s the One paid $28.20, $9.80 and $4.20. Break Even, the 2-1 second betting choice ridden by Joel Rosario, returned $4.20 and $3. Mia Mischief, under Ricardo Santana Jr., paid $2.10 to show.
Unique Factor, Sneaking Out, Spiced Perfection, Princess Causeway and Take Charge Angel completed the order of finish. Lady Suebee was scratched.
“When she has a target she’ll really do what you want her to do,” Pessin said. “Her workouts are the same way as she runs in the race. This filly never gets respect. This was a really good group of horses with two Grade I winners. She’s always a big price and never gets the respect she deserves.”
Bell’s the One is out of the Street Cry (IRE) mare Street Mate and was bred in Kentucky by Bret Jones.
The Winning Colors is named in honor of Eugene Klein’s Winning Colors, the most recent filly to have won the Kentucky Derby when she beat the boys in the 114th running of the Run for the Roses in 1988 for the Hall of Fame tandem of trainer D. Wayne Lukas and jockey Gary Stevens.
Churchill Downs veteran trainer Dallas Stewart spent the late 1980s traveling the country with D. Wayne Lukas’ filly Winning Colors. A former exercise rider and assistant trainer for Lukas, Stewart used to gallop Winning Colors throughout her 19-race career.
“She was just an incredible filly on the racetrack but she was tough as nails to be around at the barn,” Stewart said. “I remember times where we would be back at the barn and Jeff (Lukas) would have her out grazing and he’d come back to the barn with grass stains on his pants and up his back because she was so strong to handle. Even putting the bridle on her was a chore for us because she was so ready to go at all times.”
Winning Colors was one of only three fillies to win the Kentucky Derby – Regret (1915) and Genuine Risk (1980) are the others – and since her victory in 1988, no other filly has won the race. Her 19-race career spanned just three years but included eight victories and more than $1.5 million in purse earnings. Many recall Winning Colors’ battle with fellow Hall of Famer Personal Ensign in the 1988 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (GI) at Churchill Downs.
“I remember after she finished last in the Spinster, Gary Stevens came back and didn’t feel like something was right with her,” Stewart said. “So, Wayne took her back to Churchill and I started galloping her over the track there. I didn’t feel anything wrong with her and she worked beautifully twice over the track. I think she didn’t like the surface at Keeneland because it was really deep. Then, two weeks later, she had that epic battle in the Breeders’ Cup with Personal Ensign.”
Winning Colors won races at six different distances from six furlongs to 1 ¼ miles.
Churchill Downs Press Release
Photo: Bell’s the One. Credit: Churchill Downs