Jacks or Better Farm, Inc.’s Awesome Belle, a former Florida Stallion Stakes winner that took down four stakes at Calder Casino & Race Course in 2012, enjoyed a triumphant local return on Saturday when besting rival Canadian Mistress in a stirring stretch duel to win the off-the-turf running of the $55,000 Mairzy Doates.
“I was on the phone calling the race to the owner and when they crossed the wire, I couldn’t tell if she won,” winning trainer Stanley Gold said after the race. “It was exciting, and I’m just happy that she got it done.”
Ridden by Fernando Jara, who has been aboard the filly for each of her last 10 starts, five of which she has won, Awesome Belle settled contently in third while Canadian Mistress raced on the lead through early splits of :23.85, :48.78, and 1:14.39.
As the fillies entered the stretch, Awesome Belle was angled off the rail to attack three-wide, drawing even with Canadian Mistress in mid-stretch and running in tandem with that rival through the final yards before throwing her nose down at the wire to prevail.
The final time for the 1 1/16-mile trip was 1:46.93 over a fast track. The race was moved from the turf to the main track after heavy rains drenched south Florida on Thursday.
“Someone asked me if I cared if it came off the turf, and I said ‘I don’t know’ so I guess that means I didn’t care,” Gold joked. “But with her it doesn’t matter; she likes it here, dirt or turf.”
Awesome Belle returned $11.00, $5.00, and $5.80 for the win, while Canadian Mistress paid $5.40 and $3.60 when beaten an unlucky nose for second. It was another 6 ¼ lengths back to Frolic’s Revenge, who brought back $5.00 in third.
The Mairzy Doates victory was the sixth local stakes score for Awesome Belle, who also won the 2011 My Dear Girl Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes before returning last year to take the Frances A. Genter, Three Ring, Judy’s Red Shoes, and Crystal Rail Stakes in succession.
The homebred daughter of Awesome of Course is now a seven-time winner from 23 career starts, with earnings of $480,637.