Saturday, March 11, 2006 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . March 11, 2006 . . . Trainer William “Buff” Bradley’s faith in Ella Belle paid off Saturday as the four-year-old filly posted her first stakes win, the $50,000 Wintergreen Stakes at Turfway Park.
After a couple of seconds and five finishes out of the money Ella Belle broke her maiden on her eighth try, winning a maiden special weight at Turfway by 13 1/4 lengths. She since has posted three wins and two thirds. She now has four wins, two seconds, and two thirds from 13 starts for earnings of $108,090.
“She’s just been impressive every time,” said Bradley. “I told Willie [Martinez, Ella Belle’s regular jockey], ‘All you gotta do is have confidence. This filly is as strong as she’s ever been and as sharp as she’s ever been.’ She’s just doing better every race. She was third in the stake [Wishing Well at Turfway], but that was going short. Once we got her stretched out—her last race was impressive, the first time she’d gone long, and I really thought she’d improve off that, going long.”
“We put a lot of work in her, really believed in her,” said Martinez. “We believed we could win a stakes race with her. The main thing was getting her to relax early on in her career. She really likes to be on the bridle, and now she’s learning how to use it. She’s a tough filly.”
Ella Belle took the lead from Quite a Ruckus in the first turn and with ears up and her margin increasing at every stride down the stretch, she finished the one-mile Wintergreen 5 3/4 lengths the best. Cercatore closed for second, while Quite a Ruckus stayed in for third, another two lengths back.
After running a moderate first quarter in :23.61, Ella Belle picked up the pace in the second, running easily. She finished the Wintergreen in 1:38.57.
Completing the order of finish were Darling Daughter, Lenatareese, Truely Ruby, Cat Quatorze, Ayla Bella, and Rimroc Gold. Listen and Plumlake Lady scratched.
Ella Belle is owned by Jack Reisz, Robert Brown, James Cox, and B. Thomas Westerfield. Third choice at 4-1, she paid $11.80 for the win.
Racing continues Sunday at Turfway at 1:10 p.m.