Able to dictate a slow tempo, Elusive Pearl proved impossible to catch
on Monday at Belmont
Park in the $100,000
Pebbles for 3-year-old fillies.
Elusive Pearl, who returned $6.10 for a $2 win wager, was the only
favorite to win during Monday’s Pick 6 sequence, setting up a $102,902
two-day carryover into Thursday’s card.
After grabbing the lead as the field exited the one-mile chute on the
Widener turf course, Elusive Pearl received token pressure from Divalarious
through soft fractions of 24.88 and 50.44. The favorite was kept under a hold
entering the stretch and was hand-ridden as she opened on her rivals, with runner-up
Hessonite closing down the center of the track to finish 2 ¼ lengths behind the
The final time for one-mile over firm turf was 1:36.61.
The dearth of early speed had winning jockey Ramon Dominguez confident
in Elusive Pearl’s chances.
“It ended up setting up the way I was hoping,” said
Dominguez. “There wasn’t really much speed on paper and I was able
to slow it down.”
The Pebbles was the second start on turf for Elusive Pearl, who had won
Saratoga Race Course’s Riskaverse on September 2 in her only other start
on grass. Previously, the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro had one win in three
starts on dirt before taking an entry-level allowance over Tapeta at Presque
Isle in June and finishing third in the Duchess on Woodbine’s Polytrack
“She took well to the synthetic, but the grass is what I’m
going to seek out going forward,” said Michael Trombetta, who trains
Elusive Pearl for Robert Goldsmith. “We’ve always had a hunch
she’d like an alternative surface to dirt. First time on synthetic, she
won, and then she came back and ran well, finishing third, in another big race.
Her two grass races have been spot-on. [The grass] is probably where we are
going to stay.”
Bred in Kentucky
by Woodlawn Breeding, Inc., Elusive Pearl has earned $162,475 to date, including
the $60,000 winner’s share of the Pebbles purse.
My Redbyrd was third, with Divalarious having tired to fourth. Ruthenia, Embarr, Arch Support, Immaculate Cat, One Last
Dance, and Shatoosh completed the order of finish. Master Shade was scratched.