ELMONT, N.Y. -- Her experience on, and affinity for, soft turf may have made the difference for Hawksmoor in her head victory over Dacita in Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Beaugay Stakes at Belmont Park.
Hawksmoor made the first nine starts of her career in Europe, winning the Group 2 1000 Guineas over yielding ground as a 3-year-old in Germany.
Heavy rains that began Saturday morning and lasted throughout the afternoon created a yielding Belmont turf course that suited Hawksmoor just fine.
Dacita, meanwhile, was a Grade 1 winner on firm turf, but was a question mark on this type of ground.
Hawksmoor, placed on the lead from the outset by Julien Leparoux, was able to get away with easy fractions; she then she held off a late charge from Dacita to win the Beaugay by a head. It was three-quarters of a length back to Time and Motion, who got third by a neck over Rainha Da Bateria. Al in Fun and My Sweet Girl completed the order of finish. Miss Temple City and On Leave scratched.
Hawksmoor maintained a length advantage over All in Fun through fractions of 25.45 seconds for the quarter, 51.20 for the half-mile and 1:16.95 for six furlongs. Hawksmoor kept grinding it out on the lead and, when Irad Ortiz Jr. turned Dacita loose in the stretch, Hawksmoor was fortunate to hold her off.
"Early on in the race she was very relaxed, very comfortable on the lead. I tried to get her going pretty early and she fight back when she felt that filly on the outside," Leparoux said.
Hawksmoor , an Irish-bred 4-year-old daughter of Azamour, covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:48.91 over a yielding Widener turf course and returned $9.60 as the fourth choice.
"I told Julien I didn't think there was that much speed and she obviously ran very well on the soft before," said Arnaud Delacour, who trains Hawksmoor for the Lael Stable of Roy and Gretchen Jackson. "I was hoping that we would have soft turf. The weather was with us."
Chad Brown, who trained fourth-place finisher Rainha Da Bateria for Lael Stable, wasn't sure how Dacita would handle the yielding ground, but was relatively happy with her performance.
"She tried hard, she ran courageously on ground she probably doesn't love," Brown said. "Hopefully, she comes out of it sound."
Brown said he would like to run Dacita back in the Grade 2 New York Stakes at Belmont, a race she won last year, on June 9.
Delacour said he would nominate Hawksmoor to that race as well, but was noncommittal on a next start.