A Florida-bred chestnut daughter of Graeme Hall, Belle of the Hall broke last of seven under jockey Elvis Trujillo as Ice Wine Stable and Wesley Ward’s Final Mesa set a fast early pace down the backstretch with Strike the Moon in close attendance, but the favorite edged away to lead by three lengths going past the eighth pole before being run down in the final sixteenth.
The Hurricane Bertie is run over the same 6 ½ furlongs distance on Feb. 19. Belle of the Hall paid a generous $21.80 for the $2 to win and was timed the distance in 1:16:95 over the ‘fast’ track. She was posting her fifth victory in 15 career starts and pushed her career earnings past the $300,000 mark. Charles Dimino’s Catch a Thief finished third, four lengths behind the runner-up.
Who’s Hot: Jockey Jesus L. Castanon rode Kuene Racing’s 4-year-old filly to a popular victory in the second race for trainer Michael Mareina and came back in the fifth to guide Peacock Stable’s 6-year-old mare Differentiate to score in the fifth at 4-to-1 for trainer Kerry Zavash.
Jockey Rajiv Maragh also doubled up on the card winning the first on Michael Bruder’s Kujaa for trainer Dale Romans and the ninth atop Team Block’s Hoodwinked, the latter giving trainer Chris Block his second victory of the afternoon after sending out Team Block’s Sorta Sassy to score in the fourth.
Quote of the Day: “That WAS a Grade 3,” said trainer Tom Albertrani after saddling West Point Thoroughbreds’ Belle of the Hall to capture the third race allowance feature on Friday, referring to the quality of the field that included several fillies and mares that run more often in stakes race than not.
Workout of the Day: Michael Lauffer and W.D. Cubbedge’s 2011 Preakness Stakes (G1) hero Shackleford got down to some more serious work Friday morning at Gulfstream Park when he drilled a ‘bullet’ five furlongs in 58 3/5 for trainer Dale Romans.
The flashy chestnut colt by Forestry was posting his third recorded workout since arriving for the winter season. Shackleford was a 2011 Eclipse Award finalist for a season that concluded with a runner-up effort in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5.
Shackleford’s 2012 campaign is expected to get underway in the $500,000 Donn Handicap (G1) on Sat., Feb. 11 at 1 1/8 miles over the track and distance that he finished a game second in the Florida Derby (G1) behind Dialed In. Shackleford begins the new season with a career record of 12-3-4-0 for earnings of nearly $2 million.
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