Lear's Princess Tops Rags To Riches in Gazelle(G1)
Royalty was crowned at Belmont as Lear's Princess triumphed over Belmont Stakes winner Rags To Riches in the Grade 1 $250,000 Gazelle Stakes. Equipped with blinkers for the first time, Lear's Princess relaxed in fourth through the early stages of the race while racing in close attendance to the pace on the inside. Lear's Princess tipped out under jockey Eibar Coa with just over a quarter-mile to run and took aim on Rags To Riches. Lear's Princess launched a determined run four wide eventually overtaking Rags To Riches inside the sixteenth pole and edging away to a half-length victory.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said, "Lear's Princess finally got the Grade 1 she deserved. We were so close the last two races. However, to beat a filly like Rags To Riches to win a Grade 1 only accentuates how what a great filly Lear's Princess is. She is so lightly raced, and she'd been pretty green in her races. I think the blinkers helped her today. Eibar came to me after the last race, and he said he thought she might benefit from blinkers. I went back and forth on whether to add them. I didn't want her to be too rank, but she's such a professional. I talked to Terry about it, and we decided to go ahead and try them. She was much closer to today, but she still showed that strong finishing kick. To run down a filly like Rags To Riches in the last sixteenth of a mile is no easy feat. She's been the best this year, but I thought if there were a time to face her today would be the day. Everything worked out perfectly. I imagine we'll see one another again in six weeks at the Breeders' Cup."
Jockey Eibar Coa said, "My filly was much more awake early in the race today. She was into the bridle, but she came back to me very nicely. I had my eye on Rags To Riches the whole time. When I saw John Velazquez start to make his move at about the five-sixteenth I had to make a choice. I could stay down inside and wait or go outside. My filly likes to have her own little place in the clear, so I decided to swing her outside. I knew that I had a lot of filly. I thought we would get to Rags To Riches sooner or later. It ended up being sooner, and my filly just kept going. This is a great filly."
West Point Thoroughbreds President Terry Finley said, "What a moment. It's quite an honor to be such a tremendous filly like Rags To Riches. I think Lear's Princess showed the kind of talent she has today, and she deserves to be put up there with the top of her class."
The Gazelle was the exclamation point on what has been a meteoric ascent for Lear's Princess over the past five months. From her debut in April to defeating the Belmont winner today she has shown she is all class. She earned her well-deserved Grade 1 victory, and punched her ticket to the $2,000.000 Breeders' Cup Distaff on October 27th at Monmouth Park. Lear's Princess will train up to the Distaff off of today's triumph.
A three-year-old daughter of Lear Fan, Lear's Princess has earned four wins and two runner-up finishes in six career starts and has earned $429,100.