Race of the Week 2017

Life At Ten vs. Unrivaled Belle in Beldame

Unrivaled Belle, who has been first or second in all but one of her 10 starts, and the equally consistent Life At Ten headline a group of six fillies and mares in Saturday’s Grade 1, $350,000 Beldame Invitational at Belmont Park.


Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, Unrivaled Belle is seeking her first Grade 1 victory in the 1 1/8-mile Beldame, having finished second as the favorite in her two most recent starts, the Grade 1 Ruffian at Saratoga Race Course on August 1 and the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps at Belmont on June 12.


“We gave her plenty of time off after her last race and she’s doing fine,” said Mott of the 4-year-old daughter of Unbridled’s Song, who is owned by Gary Seidler and Peter Vegso. “She seems to run well off a break because she is a little bit on the nervous side. She’s put in a couple of really good works at Saratoga.”


At Saratoga, Unrivaled Belle zipped five furlongs in a bullet 1:00 1/5 over the Oklahoma training track on September 20, the fastest of 19 at the distance, having gone a half-mile in :51 in her previous move on September 7. Wednesday morning at Belmont Park, she went a half-mile in :50 over the training track.


Kent Desormeaux will ride Unrivaled Belle, the 8-5 favorite on the morning line, from post position 4.


Todd Pletcher, who had three horses nominated to the Beldame, settled on Grade 1 Ogden Phipps winner Life At Ten, whose six-race win streak was halted when she finished third behind Persistently and Rachel Alexandra in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign at Saratoga on August 29. Nearing the $1 million mark in earnings, the front-running 5-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon looks to improve her already impressive record of 7-5-2 in 15 lifetime starts.


“We don’t want to get involved in a speed duel, so we’re just going to have to leave that up to the jockey,” said Pletcher. “She has been training really well and likes the track here, so we are optimistic that she will run well.”

At 9-5 on the morning line, Life At Ten drew the rail with John Velazquez aboard.


The connections of Persistently, who scored her first Grade 1 win in the Personal Ensign after benefiting from the early pace duel between Rachel Alexandra and Life At Ten, are looking for a similar scenario in Saturday’s race.


“It looks like we will get a legitimate pace from Unrivaled Belle, Life At Ten, and Bonnie Blue Flag, so obviously that will help us,” said Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, who trains the  4-year-old Smoke Glacken filly for the Phipps Stable.


Persistently leaves from the outside with regular rider Alan Garcia aboard at 5-1 on the morning line.


Trainer Patrick Biancone is hoping the one-turn Beldame will move up Queen Martha, who was second to Rachel Alexandra in the Lady’s Secret at Monmouth and subsequently was fourth in the Grade 2 Molly Pitcher.


“She ran really hard in that race against Rachel,” said Biancone of the 4-year-old Rahy filly. “But she is doing well now, and I think that the 1 1/8-mile distance should suit her. Plus the one turn should help as well, since she can break, get a good position, and relax.”


Pablo Fragoso comes in to ride Queen Martha, 12-1 on the morning line, from post position 3.


Also going in the Beldame is Miss Match, an allowance winner at the Beldame distance at Saratoga on August 19. Trained by Michael Matz, the 5-year-old daughter of Indygo Shiner drew post position 2 and will be ridden by Belmont’s leading jockey, Ramon Dominguez, at 15-1 on the morning line.


Hall of Famer Bob Baffert has entered the only 3-year-old in the race, Bonnie Blue Flag, who was assigned odds of 6-1 as she drew post 5 under Garrett Gomez.


The field for the Grade 1 Beldame Invitational:








Life At Ten (KY)

J R Velazquez


T A Pletcher



Miss Match (ARG)

R A Dominguez


M R Matz



Queen Martha (KY)

P Fragoso


P L Biancone



Unrivaled Belle (KY)

K J Desormeaux


W I Mott



Bonnie Blue Flag (KY)

G K Gomez


B Baffert



Persistently (KY)

A Garcia


C R McGaughey III




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