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Stacelita Relishes Yielding Ground in Flower Bowl

A wide trip and a yielding turf course were no obstacles for heavily favored Stacelita on Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park as the filly notched her second consecutive Grade 1 victory with a commanding, two-length win in the $500,000 Flower Bowl Invitational.

The Flower Bowl, the first of six graded stakes at Belmont on Saturday, was a "Win and You're In" race for the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf next month at Churchill Downs.

Floated five wide around the first turn and through the backstretch as Dynaslew led the field of six fillies and mares through dawdling fractions of 26.09, 53.48 and 1:20.87, Stacelita began moving up on the turn to challenge for the lead. Once straightened for home, she took command in midstretch and was never threatened as she crossed the wire well clear of 42-1 shot Distorted Legacy.

"I wasn't happy about being wide, but I was very pleased with the way she was handling herself," said Dominguez. "When she saw the light, she wanted to run. She felt like she was playing with those fillies. She was just really in control."

Her time for the 1 ¼ miles was 2:10.39.

"I thought, all in all, it was a great, patient ride by Ramon," said Chad Brown, who trains Stacelita for Martin Schwartz. "She is a remarkable horse and she's had an outstanding career to this point. Hopefully she can cap it off with a win in the Breeders' Cup."

The Flower Bowl was the second win in three American starts for Stacelita, who was third against males in the Grade 1 United Nations in her stateside debut on July 2 and then annexed the Grade 1 Beverly D. over a yielding course at Arlington Park on August 13. A multiple Group 1 winner in her native France, the 5-year-old black mare is 10-2-2 from 17 career starts and has earned $2,371,241.

Sent off as the 1-2 favorite in the Flower Bowl, she returned $3 for a $2 win bet.

Runner-up Distorted Legacy, the longest shot on the board, was 1 ¾ lengths clear of the pacesetting Dynaslew, with Emerald Beech, Gitchee Goomie, and Deluxe completing the order of finish. Aruna and Senada were scratched.

Brown said Stacelita would remain at Belmont Park to prepare for the 1 3/8-mile Filly & Mare Turf.

"Most likely we will stay here until the week of the Breeders' Cup and do all her training here," he said. "She seems to like New York. Her training to this point, knock wood, has been flawless at Belmont, so the plan is to stay here as long as we could before the Breeders' Cup."



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