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Proviso Wins Just A Game

Proviso, the even-money favorite, took the lead with 220 yards to go and held off a hard-charging Phola to win the Grade 1, $400,000 Just a Game presented by VisitNassauCounty.com on the turf Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park.

 

Ridden by Mike Smith, Proviso raced on the outside of pacesetter Speak Easy Gal as she led through opening fractions of 24.54, 48.21 and 1:11.36. Moving up as the field of six fillies and mares straightened for home, the 5-year-old Dansili mare fought her way to the front approaching the furlong marker and had enough left to stave off the late bids from Phola and My Princess Jess, hitting the wire a half-length in front in 1:34.09 for the mile over a firm turf course.

 

“She ran great,” said Smith. “She’s probably better when she’s running at a target. The race came up light on the speed part. Bill [Mott] told me not to change anything; that we were going to be laying second, and to go from there. It all worked out.”

 

It was the second straight Grade 1 victory for Proviso, who defeated males in the Grade 1 Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita on March 6 in her previous start. Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, Proviso, who began her career in Europe and then was sent to the late Bobby Frankel last fall, is now 3-1-0 in five starts in the United States.

 

“I thought the race might shape up as it did, laying second, and that’s what happened,” said Mott, who indicated the Grade 1 Diana at Saratoga Race Course on July 31 was a likely target for Proviso.“I thought she might accelerate quicker than she did, but they were cruising right along.”

 

Proviso returned $4.20 for a $2 win bet as she earned $240,000, boosting her bankroll to $1,325,473 for Juddmonte Farms. Overall, she is 7-3-5 from 20 lifetime starts.

 

Phola, whose three-race win streak was snapped by the loss, finished a neck in front of My Princess Jess, who in turn was followed by Cherokee Queen, Fantasia, and Speak Easy Gal.

 

The Just a Game, run for the 17th time, was one of five graded stakes on the undercard for the 142nd running of the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes.

 

 

 

 

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Older Comments about Proviso Wins Just A Game...

Quote from Bill Mott: “I’d probably want to try the Diana [Grade 1, $500,000, 1 1/8 miles on July 31 at Saratoga Race Course] with her. She has run longer races. She won the Spinster at a mile and an eighth but got DQ’d.”

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