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Pebbles: Elusive Pearl Dictates Tempo

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 winner.


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 in July.


“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.





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