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Peace Preserver Scores in Noble Damsel

Belmont Park
Peace Preserver took advantage of a patient, ground-saving ride by Irad Ortiz Jr. to register her first graded stakes victory in the Grade 3, $200,000 Noble Damsel Stakes on Saturday at Belmont Park.

 

Ortiz reserved Peace Preserver at the rear of the six-horse field as Assateague set fractions of 23.15 seconds, 46.92 and 1:10.33 for six furlongs. Kept behind and inside of race favorites Hungry Island (3-1) and Better Lucky (4-5), Peace Preserver sat chilly as the field bunched up at the eighth pole, then split rivals to gain the advantage inside the sixteenth pole, holding Hungry Island safe by a half-length at the wire.

 

Peace Preserver, the longest shot in the field at 16-1, returned $34.20 for a $2 win wager and completed the mile on the Widener Turf Course in 1:33.93. The winning trainer was Todd Pletcher.

 

"On paper, it didn't look like they would go that fast, but obviously you're very happy anytime you can see those kinds of fractions," said assistant trainer Michael McCarthy, who handled the saddling duties for Pletcher. "She's a gutty mare. She was actually just kind of galloping back there. She's very genuine and puts a lot into her training. She puts a lot into everything she does."

 

Peace Preserver was winless in four 2013 starts prior to the Noble Damsel. The daughter of War Front finished a close second, however, in May's Grade 3 Beaugay at Belmont where she was beaten by just three-quarters of a length under Ortiz by the recently retired Hessonite.

 

"It was a perfect trip," said Ortiz. "I just followed the instructions like the assistant trainer told me. He told me to sit and make one run. I sat and waited until the quarter pole but I couldn't go out, so I stayed inside where I wouldn't lose too much ground. When room opened up, she gave me everything she had. When I asked her, she picked it up pretty good."

 

Despite the close defeat, the Hungry Island camp was pleased by their horse's performance.

 

"I thought she ran great," said Buzz Tenney, assistant to Hungry Island's Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey. "She settled in nice, and made a run at the end. She just got outrun to the wire. She ran a great race."

 

"The other one [Peace Preserver] just happened to get through with me and beat me," said Hungry Island's pilot, Hall of Famer John Velazquez. "She [Hungry Island] was going awesome the whole way. I thought she was the winner all the way around."

 

The odds-on favorite, Better Lucky, checked in third.

 

"She ran well. We lost a little bit of ground, but I was pleased," said Tom Albertrani, trainer of Better Lucky. "Unfortunately, we didn't win, but I thought she gave it an honest effort. She wasn't beaten very far. Hopefully, we can come right back with her in a few weeks, take her down to Keeneland and make amends there."

 

Owned by Alto Racing, LLC, Peace Preserver is 5-3-3 in 16 starts and has earned $382,166. Her Noble Damsel win was worth $120,000.

 

Assateague tired to fourth, followed by Naples Bay and Laugh Out Loud (GB).

 


 

 

 

 

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