The Three Ring
Division leaders were toppled and winning streaks were halted at Calder Casino & Race Course on Saturday.
Jacks or Better Farm Inc.’s Awesome Belle won for the first time in nine starts by upsetting Frolic’s Revenge in the $75,000 Three Ring Stakes, and Empire Builder fell victim to Bruce Hollander and Cary Shapoff’s Csaba in the $75,000 El Kaiser Stakes.
Winless since taking the $300,000 My Dear Girl Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes in November, Awesome Belle yielded the early advantage to Sister Pippa through an opening quarter in :23.76 before taking the lead away from that rival and guiding the field through middle splits of :47.74 and 1:12.84.
“She broke good, and we wanted to go to the lead, but that other filly went for it, and I was happy where I was,” winning rider Fernando Jara said. “She started to get a little rank on me down the backside like she wanted to run, so I let her go, but I was a little worried that she wouldn’t finish.”
Awesome Belle enjoyed a clear lead on the turn but was soon engaged by Frolic’s Revenge, who drew even in mid-stretch and put her head in front inside the final furlong. But that time at the top was short-lived as Awesome Belle fought back resiliently along the rail, regaining the lead as the finish line neared before drawing away again in the final yards for a 3/4-length victory while running the one-mile and 70-yard distance in 1:44.19.
Awesome Belle returned $13.60, $4.40, and $3 for the win. Frolic’s Revenge paid $2.60 and $2.10 for second. It was another eight lengths back to Sinister Tale, who returned $3.20 for third.
Trained by Stanley Gold, Awesome Belle is now a three-time winner in 16 starts, with lifetime earnings of $308,307.
“That was always the plan, to get her back to two-turn races,” Gold said of Awesome Belle, who had been sprinting much of the year. “We always thought she had the speed to run in those shorter races, but we’ll probably keep the focus on longer races now.”
One race before Awesome Belle ended the three-race winning streak of Frolic’s Revenge, Csaba put the brakes on Empire Builder’s two-race run with a commanding 8 1/4-length victory in the El Kaiser.
Trained by Phil Gleaves, Csaba was always forwardly placed during the running of the El Kaiser, with jockey Luis Saez sending the colt right to the front through an opening quarter clocked in :24.15.
After repelling a modest challenge down the backstretch by Two Is to Many, Csaba was never truly threatened, opening up a five-length lead at the top of the stretch before expanding that margin through the wire, stopping the timer in 1:42.50 for the one-mile and 70-yard trip.
Csaba paid $3.60 and $2.40 for the win, and Ravelo’s Boy closed from last to finish second, paying $3.80. There was no show wagering on the race. Csaba is a four-time winner in 10 career starts, with earnings of $122,535.