Jay Em Ess Stable's By The Moon attended a slow early pace to out-finish last year's Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint champion Wavell Avenue, winning the Grade 3 Bed o'Roses Stakes at Belmont Park on Saturday by 1 3/4 lengths. The 4-year-old daughter of Indian Charlie covered seven furlongs on the fast main track in 1:21.98 for trainer Michelle Nevin, earning her second lifetime graded stakes victory.
“She's a hard-working filly, and she's come back this year in great form,” said Nevin. “Her first race back this year, it's always tough off the bench in a stake [Distaff Handicap], but we didn't have too many options. It was good to get a race under her and she showed back up today. I'm going to keep my options open for the next couple of weeks but I think she can go further. The way the race set up today, there was a lot of speed in the race and we were in the one-hole. We were either going to have to gun her or sit back. Jose gave her a great ride.”
By The Moon laid third, only a length off the lead, behind West Coast Chick and Mayla through a steady opening quarter of :23.26, while Wavell Avenue was back in sixth at the rear of the field. Shuffled back to fifth around the half-mile mark, By The Moon maintained her advantage along the inside rail under Jose Ortiz. As Wavell Avenue traveled four-wide around the turn, clocking the half-mile in :46.10 while just a half-length off the lead, By The Moon and Ortiz waited patiently for a hole along the rail.
As Mayla and West Coast Chick drifted apart at the head of the lane, By The Moon exploded through the hole between them. Wavell Avenue struggled to retain traction along the outside, and at the wire, it was By the Moon 1 3/4 lengths in front of Wavell Avenue. Bar of Gold stayed close to finish third, just a neck behind Wavell Avenue, and Mayla stayed on to be fourth.
“She was 100 percent today,” said Ortiz. “She broke very alert, it was great. She put me in a great position behind the speed. When we passed the three-eighths pole, I saw four horses across and at that point I was in a great position. If nothing opened, maybe I don't win. But I just tried to be patient and I found the hole. She responded well and gave me a great run.”
Bred in Kentucky by Samantha Siegel, By the Moon recorded her first graded win in the G1 Frizette at Belmont in 2014. The Bed o'Roses is her second graded victory, and brings her overall record to 4-3-1 from 11 starts, with earnings of just under $800,000.
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