Uni patiently stalked the field before making a strong move from the outside to cruise to a 3 ¾-length win in the 31st running of the Grade 3, $200,000 Noble Damsel for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up on Saturday at Belmont Park.
Under jockey Joel Rosario, Uni stayed at the back of the four-horse field as Hawksmoor set the early fractions, with the opening quarter-mile in 24.40 seconds and the half in 48.84 on the Widener turf course listed as yielding. Out of the far turn, Rosario set down Uni, who went wide to outkick Hawksmoor and Thundering Sky, completing one mile in a final time of 1:36.11.
Owned by Michael Dubb, Head of Plains Partners, Robert LaPenta and Bethlehem Stables, Uni won her third consecutive stakes race, adding to victories in the Fasig-Tipton De La Rose on August 4 at Saratoga and the Plenty of Grace on April 14 at Aqueduct.
“This was a tough kind of race, only four in the field and it looked like a lone speed [Hawksmoor], but she's a classy little filly and got it done,” said Whit Beckman, assistant to winning trainer Chad Brown. “We were kind of figuring Hawksmoor would go out and we just hoped her running style would be enough because we weren't going to look to change that and it was enough to get it done.”
Brown conditioned the winners of the first four races on Saturday's card and registered his third straight Noble Damsel win, with Off Limits capturing the 2017 edition and Mrs McDougal the victor in 2016.
Off as the 6-5 favorite, Uni paid $4.50 on a $2 win wager. The 4-year-old English-bred improved her career earnings to $712,880 and registered her second graded stakes win, adding to her victory in the 2017 Grade 2 Sands Point in her previous appearance at Belmont.
“I just tipped her out and she came running. She's a really nice filly,” Rosario said. “He [Brown] just said to let her break, get her comfortable, follow the speed in the race, and take it from there. She's a nice-moving filly. I was only the passenger, she did all the work.”
Hawksmoor, the 6-5 second choice for trainer Arnaud Delacour, posted her second straight graded stakes runner-up finish, edging Thundering Sky by a neck. Hawksmoor, a 5-year-old Irish-bred, also ran second to the Brown-trained Quidura in the Grade 2 Ballston Spa on August 25 at Saratoga.
Dream Awhile, also trained by Brown, finished fourth. Lift Up and Mythical Mission were scratched.
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