Life At Ten, whose six-race win streak was snapped
when she finished third in the Personal Ensign at Saratoga, roared back into
the winner’s circle Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park with a rousing two-length
victory over favored Unrivaled Belle in the 72nd running of the
Grade 1, $350,000 Beldame Invitational.
The 7-5 second choice in the field of five fillies and mares, Life At
Ten settled in third, several lengths behind longshot Queen Martha as she was
tracked by Unrivaled Belle through opening fractions of 23.68 and 47.80.
Moving up three-wide on the turn in tandem with the favorite, jockey
John Velazquez sent Life At Ten charging to the front straightening for home,
and the 4-year-old Malibu Moon miss was never seriously threatened as she
cruised home in 1:49.29 for the 1 1/8 miles.
“It worked out perfectly,” said Velazquez. “She broke
well, and got us in a good position. When we passed the half-mile pole, I put
her in the clear and let her get to that cruising speed that she has … I
was just hoping that when I asked her, she’d respond, and she responded
all the way.”
Persistently, winner of the Personal Ensign, came from last to finish
third, 6 ¾ lengths behind the beaten favorite, with Queen Martha and Miss Match
rounding out the order of finish.
“The pace set-up worked out perfectly,” said Hall of Famer
Bill Mott, trainer of Unrivaled Belle. “We had first run on Life At Ten,
but we couldn’t outrun her at the wire.”
The victory was the fifth in six 2010 starts for Life At Ten, who
annexed the Grade 3 Sixty Sails, the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps at Belmont and the
Grade 2 Delaware Handicap this year during her winning streak before falling
victim to Persistently and runner-up Rachel Alexandra in the Personal Ensign.
“We made a tactical decision [to go after Rachel Alexandra] in the
last race and it kind of backfired,” said Todd Pletcher, who trains Life
At Ten for Candy DeBartolo. “This time, we had a better plan in letting
her fall into a rhythm, and hoped that the other two fillies would show some
initiative and it worked out well.”
Life At Ten earned $210,000 for the win, her eighth from 16 career
starts, and returned $4.90 for a $2 win bet. Her next start, said Pletcher,
would most likely be the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic at Churchill
Downs on November 5.
“Hopefully we will be heading to Louisville if everything goes well,”
said the trainer.