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Thursday, January 01, 2009


`BELLE’ RINGS IN NEW YEAR RIGHT FOR ALBERTRANI


By Francis LaBelle Jr.

Like a lot of us, trainer Tom Albertrani is not exactly upset that 2008 is over.

Recent weeks have been especially harsh on Albertrani, who was winless with his first dozen starters to open Aqueduct’s inner track and close out the year.

But 2009 is here and Albertrani started off a winner with his only starter on Thursday afternoon, as Darley Stable’s Zada Belle dismissed four rivals in the 88th renewal of the $69,265 Interborough Stakes for fillies and mares at six furlongs.


The five-year-old Indian Charlie mare broke from the outside in post 6 and, aided by the scratch of A Rose for You, was able to stalk Coli Bear, who set the early pace from the rail of 23.06 and 47.68 on the fast inner track.

Zada Belle, ridden by jockey Ramon Dominguez, quickly passed the pacesetter and went on to a 4 ½-length victory in 1:13.94. She returned $3.10 as the favorite of 14,536, many drawn by the 2009 New York Racing Association calendar promotion. It was her sixth victory in nine career starts.

“When she came to our barn (before Thanksgiving), the first thing that struck me about her were her past performances,” Albertrani said. ‘I was very pleased when I found out we were going to get her -- it’s always nice to have a filly like her. Over the past few weeks, it’s been mostly maintenance with her. We’ve had a rough couple of weeks weather-wise but she’s stayed on top of her game. She’ll remain up here through the winter and [hopefully] will accomplish a graded stakes win with her.

“I was pleased she sat off the first two horses and settled off the leaders.”

Zada Belle was the last of three winners on the day for Dominguez, giving him a meet-leading 16 victories.

“She was able to challenge the No. 1 (Coli Bear) and then she made a little mid move,” Dominguez said. “It shorter than I wanted, but she had her ears up and was looking for company. From then on it was easy; she just wasn’t being challenged much.”

Intentional Fever got up to head Blowing Kisses for the show, while Are We Dreamin and Coli Bear trailed.


INTERBOROUGH STAKES QUOTES

Winning trainer Tom Albertrani of favored Zada Belle (No. 6): “When she came to our barn (before Thanksgiving), the first thing that struck me about her were her past performances. I was very pleased when I found out we were going to get her -- it’s always nice to have a filly like her. Over the past few weeks, it’s been mostly maintenance with her. We’ve had a rough couple of weeks weather-wise but she’s stayed on top of her game. She’ll remain up here through the winter and [hopefully] accomplish a graded stakes win with her.

“I was pleased she sat off the first two horses and settled off the leaders.”

Winning jockey Ramon Dominguez: “She was able to challenge the No. 1 (Coli Bear) and then she made a little mid move, shorter than I wanted to, but she had her ears up and was looking for company. From then on it was easy, she just wasn’t being challenged much.”


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