SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Trainer Neil Pessin said Lothenbach Stables’ Bell’s the One, a multiple graded-stakes winning millionaire, will ship to Saratoga for Wednesday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Honorable Miss Handicap, a six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up.
The 5-year-old Majesticperfection bay captured the seven-furlong 2020 Grade 1 Derby City Distaff by a nose over Serengeti Empress, but finished fourth in this year’s renewal, a key race that saw the top-four finishers – Gamine [Grade 2 Lady M, Los Alamitos], Sconsin [Grade 3 Winning Colors, Churchill Downs], Estilo Talentoso [Grade 3 Bed o’ Roses, Belmont Park] and Bell’s the One [Roxelana, Churchill] – win stakes races in their next start.
“She should have been first or second in that race,” Pessin said regarding this year’s Derby City Distaff. “She had a bad trip and was too far back in a very slow pace and then came on the inside instead of going outside which she likes better. If she ran the race she should have, she’d have been one-two.”
Bell’s the One, who boasts a record of 18-8-3-2, was a close-up fifth in the early stages of the 6 1/2-furlong Roxelana last out before rallying to a three-quarter length score in the overnight event on June 19 at Churchill Downs.
Pessin said he asked jockey Corey Lanerie not to lose touch with the field early.
“I told Corey if they go slow she doesn’t need to be 10 or 12 [lengths] back. I’m trying to get her a little more that way so we’re not so pace dependent,” Pessin said. “In her last race they didn’t go fast early but we weren’t far off of it. She was stuck in between horses – there were three across the track – and Corey let her suck back a little bit so she could get to the outside. When she turned for home, she just kicked on. She won by three-quarters, but it was a handy three-quarters.”
Pessin said Lanerie will retain the mount in the Honorable Miss, which is expected to include familiar foe, Kimari, who bested Bell’s the One in the Grade 1 Madison in April at Keeneland.
“Kimari beat us at Keeneland and it was my mare’s first out of the year,” Pessin said. “We also got stuck on the inside and didn’t get to bounce outside. If we’d got outside, I think we’d have beat her that day.”
Others under consideration for the Honorable Miss include, Don’t Call Me Mary (Todd Pletcher), Lake Avenue (Bill Mott) and Pacific Gale (John Kimmel).
NYRA Press Office
Photo: Bell’s The One nips Serengeti Empress by a nose to win the Derby City Distaff at Churchill Downs Sept. 5, 2020 (Churchill Downs/Coady Photography)