“This was always the plan; to get her back to two turns,” Gold said of Awesome Belle, who had run in three straight sprint stakes at the meet, beginning with an appearance in the French Village Stakes, won by stablemate Redbud Road, on May 12 and concluding with a seventh-place performance in the Grade 3 Azalea Stakes on July 7.
“But in each race, another filly went and the fractions were quick, and she never had it easy. As it is, those sprints were useful in getting her ready to run the race she ran (in the Three Ring).”
Gold insists that Awesome Belle will remain in two-turn races for the foreseeable future, but the trainer doesn’t rule out a possible return to turf for the filly. Awesome Belle has been on the grass twice in her career, finishing sixth in the $100,000 Calder Oaks and eighth in the $100,000 Sweetest Chant at Gulfstream Park.
“I still think it’s an option with her,” Gold said of a possible surface switch. “She’s a half to Bayou’s Lassie, who won turf stakes here and won a graded turf stake (Grade 3 Distaff Turf Mile) at Churchill on Derby Day (in 2008). And she had a brother that ran exclusively overseas in nothing but turf races.”
That horse, purchased at auction for $1.6 million, trained for Godolphin by Saeed bin Suroor, and named Al Zir, finished third in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy Stakes in 2009 and returned to contest the prestigious Epsom Derby in 2010, where he finished sixth of 12
The next local stake available for 3-year-old fillies is the $75,000 Crystal Rail Stakes, run over 7 ½ furlongs of turf on August 18.
NUMB LIPS WINS FIRST OF THE YEAR IN SATURDAY’S PRIMAL
Following a string of second and third-place finishes in the Miami Mile Handicap, Memorial Day Handicap, and Mecke Stakes, Stipa Racing Stable, Inc.’s Numb Lips finally broke through for his first win of the year when taking Saturday’s $55,000 Primal Stakes at Calder Casino & Race Course.
“We knew he’d run good today,” winning trainer Agustin Bezara said following the race. “He was getting close all year.”
Ridden by Fernando Jara, who earlier on the day won the $75,000 Three Ring Stakes aboard Awesome Belle, Numb Lips was last through the early stages of the Primal before unleashing a strong late run to win going away by three lengths. Favorite Cash Rules finished second, while Liberty Cap was third.
STALLION STAKES ENTRIES TAKEN MONDAY
Entries for the first two Florida Stallion Stakes, the $75,000 estimated Dr. Fager Division and the $75,000 estimated Desert Vixen Division, restricted to 2-year-old fillies, will be taken in the Calder racing office on Monday. Both races, run at the six-furlong distance, will be contested Saturday, July 28.
The Stallion Stakes continue with the $125,000 estimated Affirmed Division and the $125,000 estimated Susan’s Girl Division as part of Juvenile Showcase on August 25, before concluding with the $300,000 estimated In Realty Division and the $300,000 estimated My Dear Girl Division on the October 13 Festival of the Sun program.