Stakes Advance: Bell’s the One Puts Undefeated Record on the Line in Saturday’s Allen ‘Black Cat’ LaCombe Memorial Stakes

By Ryan Martin

Lothenbach Stables’ Bell’s the One knows how to find the wire first having done so in all three of her career starts. On Saturday the Neil Pessin trained daughter of Majesticperfection will switch to turf and look to make her record a perfect 4-for-4 in the $75,000 Allen ‘Black Cat’ Memorial Stakes.

A 32-1 upset winner of her career debut over the all-weather surface at Arlington International Racecourse in September, Bell’s the One defeated winners going one turn over the main track at Keeneland before taking the local Letellier Memorial Stakes on December 22. In addition to being her first start on turf, the Allen ‘Black Cat’ Lacombe will be Bell the One’s first outing around two turns as all three of her career starts have been run at six furlongs. The lone stakes winner in the Allen ‘Black Cat’ Lacombe field, she boasts the highest amount of career earnings in the field with $105,600. She will break from post seven as the 3-1 morning line favorite under Corey Lanerie.

Trainer Mark Casse will be represented by stakes-placed Fortunate Girl (post four, Miguel Mena, 4-1) and two-time winner Beautiful Ballad (post six, Adam Beschizza, 6-1), both of which bear the sky blue and yellow colors of owner John Oxley. A daughter of Hard Spun, Fortunate Girl was a close second in Gulfstream Park’s Wait a While Stakes in December. Her lone victory was a fourth out maiden win over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course on November 16. Stable mate Beautiful Ballad is unbeaten in both of her career starts over turf, both of which were at Fair Grounds. On January 5, the daughter of Maclean’s Music broke her maiden at third asking over a yielding Stall-Wilson Turf Course. From there, she would go on to defeat a first level allowance field on February 14.

Rounding out the field are Shesonthewarpath (post one, Chantal Sutherland, 8-1), Mandy Blue (post two, Colby Hernandez, 6-1), Missmizz (post three, Shaun Bridgmohan, 6-1), Amandrea (post five, James Graham) and Gamblin Train (post eight, Marcelino Pedroza, 10-1).

The Allen “Black Cat” LaCombe Memorial Stakes is named in honor of the late handicapper and Fair Grounds publicist. A well-known figure in the New Orleans area, there was not a whole lot that LaCombe didn’t do. Throughout his life, he was a World War II veteran, a boxing promoter, and also ran for mayor and governor.