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Saturday, October 14
Riboletta takes Beldame, may skip Cup




ELMONT, N.Y. -- The filly and mare division gained a champion Saturday, while the Breeders' Cup may have lost a superstar.

Riboletta and Beautiful Pleasure
Riboletta and jockey Chris McCarron easily defeated champion Beautiful Pleasure in Saturday's $750,000 Beldame.
In the minutes after Riboletta wrapped up a division title with a scintalating two-length victory in brilliant time over Beautiful Pleasure in Belmont Park's $750,000 Beldame Stakes, the conjecture was whether Riboletta, a winner of six straight graded stakes, would be supplemented to the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff or the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic.

Then owner Aaron Jones turned into a party pooper.

Mindful that less than an hour earlier another of his horses, Plenty of Light, had won Keeneland's premier race for fillies and mares, the Spinster, Jones said his inclination was to hold Riboletta out of the Breeders' Cup altogether.

"I think the proper thing to do is run Plenty of Light in the [Breeders' Cup Distaff] and look for something else for Riboletta. The entry fee ($400,000 for the Distaff; $800,000 for the Classic) is hefty," Jones said. "We feel Plenty of Light is on a par with this filly and we don't have to pay the big fee. That's my off-the-cuff thought, though we won't make a final decision until entry time [for the Breeders' Cup]."

The Grade I Beldame was a two-horse race from start to finish.

Beautiful Pleasure, under Jorge Chavez, sprang out to a five-length lead, with Riboletta stalking the 1999 filly and mare champion through a half-mile in :46.17. After three-quarters of a mile in 1:09.28, jockey Chris McCarron sent Riboletta after Beautiful Pleasure. The two fillies were abreast at the quarter pole in a duel that only lasted for a sixteenth of a mile. Leaving the 3/16ths pole, Riboletta, who ran a mile 1:33.37, drew away from Beautiful Pleasure to cross the wire in a sensational 1:46.14 for the 1 1/8 miles.

"She handles any track in America," said winning trainer Eduardo Inda.

Pentatonic was third, 16 1/2 lengths behind the winner.

A 1-2 favorite, Riboletta paid $3 to win.

"She was awesome," McCarron said. "She just feels so strong underneath you. She kept tugging at me and when I finally let he go, she took off."

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