VICTORY RIDE STAKES | PURSE: $150,000 | 3-YEAR-OLD FILLIES | GRADE 3 | 6 FURLONGS
Paul Pompa Jr.'s Baby J re-rallied to overtake Bridgehampton late to win the $147,000 Victory Ride Stakes June 29 at Belmont Park by three-quarters of a length.
The 3-year-old Kentucky-bred filly, trained by Patrick Reynolds, ran the six furlongs in 1:10.84.
The race only had five starters with the scratches of Stonestreet Stables' multiple Grade 2 winner Kauai Katie [entrymate of Teen Pauline], Native One, and Lighthouse Bay.
Breaking first Baby J rocketed to the early advantage while being challenged by Bridgehampton early and the two tore through an opening quarter of :22.14. Baby J, with Joel Rosario up, hugged the rail with Bridgehampton giving chase just to her outside under Jose Lezcano. Those two, at 10-1 and 5-1, respectively, and the longest shots on the board, separated themselves from their three rivals.
On the turn, Barry Schwartz's Bridgehampton stuck her neck in front as the tandem went through a half-mile in :45.13. Bridgehampton took command of the race in the stretch, but drifted to the rail. Rosario took Baby J off the rail and came out into the two path. After five furlongs in :57.56, Baby J rallied to overtake Bridgehampton in the final strides for the win.
Fusaichiswonderful, the 7-5 favorite, was 2 ¼ lengths back in third. Teen Pauline was fourth and was followed by I'm Mom's Favorite.
"In my head, I thought she would maybe come back, so I kept her busy and rode her," said Rosario. "The other day [when third in an optional claimer June 14] we took her back and it looked like she was not as game. But today, after that horse came over a little on me, I put her on the outside and she came back again. It was impressive."
Baby J paid $23, $7.70, and $3. Bridgehampton paid $6.50 and $3.20. Fusaichiswonderful, unbeaten in Puerto Rico at 2 and a recent second in the Eight Belles Stakes at Churchill Downs, paid $2.20. The 4-5 exacta paid $124.50.
Baby J is the first stakes winner for J Be K. Out of the Rubiano mare Lavender Baby, the bay filly was bred by Mrs. O.M. Patrick. A $37,000 sale yearling at the 2011 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July sale, Baby J was purchased by Omega Farm from the Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent, consignment. She was an RNA at $65,000 at last year's Fasig-Tipton Florida sale of 2-year-olds.
The fourth foal out of Lavender Baby, Baby J is a half sister to Monmouth Park stakes winner Laureate Conductor and multiple stakes-placed Que Posse. Lavender Baby has a yearling filly by Scat Daddy and delivered a colt by Colonel John March 30.
"She's a free-running type of filly, and it worked out," said Reynolds. "We're going to kick around [running in the Grade 1 Test Stakes Aug. 24 at Saratoga]. She'll probably need a little time off, but she'll be tough on a speed track up there wherever we elect to go with her."
A Belmont maiden winner first time out June 28, 2012, for Juvenal Diaz and trainer Michelle Nihei, Baby J was acquired by Pompa and was trained by Richard Dutrow Jr. for three starts that included stakes placings in the Schuylerville Stakes at Saratoga Race Course and Matron Stakes at Belmont Park. With Reynolds, Baby J won an allowance/optional claiming race in the slop at Belmont May 8, then was third in a higher level optional claimer June 14.
She sports a 3-1-2 slate from seven starts and has earned $240,600. All races except her debut have come at six furlongs.