Stakes Recap: Bell’s the One Remains Unbeaten in Allen ‘Black Cat’ LaCombe Memorial Stakes
By Ryan Martin
Dirt, turf, synthetic, it really doesn’t matter to Bell’s the One.
Adapting to new surfaces is not easy for young and developing Thoroughbreds, but Lothenbach Stables undefeated 3-year-old daughter of Majesticperfection proved that she can handle just about anything thrown her way when she took her turf debut in Saturday afternoon’s $75,000 Allen ‘Black Cat’ LaCombe Memorial Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.
Jockey Corey Lanerie had Bell’s the One right off the pace led by Fortunate Girl who set slow opening fractions of 24.90, 49.64 and 1:15.46. At the far turn, Bell’s the One went three wide and was under a drive near the three-sixteenths pole. Past the eighth-pole, Bell’s the One took command and went on to win by a half-length over Fortunate Girl. Gamblin Train rounded out the trifecta.
Amandrea, Mandy Blue, Beautiful Ballad and Missmizz completed the order of finish.
The Allen ‘Black Cat’ LaCombe was a sixth stakes victory of the meet for Lanerie, who leads all other Fair Grounds riders in terms of stakes wins.
“She broke really well, kind of stalking the pace,” Lanerie said. “(Trainer Neil Pessin) told me not to go to the front and so I found myself stalking on the outside. At the three-eighths I thought I was in trouble. I guess first time on the grass I thought she was confused. I engaged her to go on and she didn’t offer me anything and then all of a sudden she was like, ‘Okay I think I know my job’.
“A lot of horses that go from dirt to turf for the first time break from the gate and a lot of them relax more because they have never run at that surface so it’s new to them,” Lanerie continued. “They’re maybe a little cautious. Every time she has run she’s had something new thrown at her and she’s very professional. She’s run on Poly, dirt twice and seems to handle everything very well. Neil and his team have done a marvelous job with her.”
Trained by Neil Pessin, Bell’s the One broke her maiden at 32-1 over the all-weather surface at Arlington International Racecourse on September 1 before defeating winners over the main track at Keeneland. From there, she won the Letellier Memorial Stakes on December 22, which was her start prior to winning the Allen ‘Black Cat’ Lacombe Memorial Stakes.
Bell’s the One was probable for both the Silverbulletday Stakes and Grade II Rachel Alexandra Stakes – the first two Road To The Kentucky Oaks qualifiers at Fair Grounds – but came up sick before both races.
“She made it an easy decision because she got sick before the Rachel,” Pessin said. “I scratched her because she wasn’t right and really we’ve been behind the eight ball with her because she’s gotten sick on us twice this year once before the Silverbulletday and once before the Rachel. We decided to go here because this opened up out options. We wanted to see if she would handle the two turns. I wasn’t so much worried about turf as I was two turns.
Pessin mentioned the Grade II $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks Presented by Twinspires.com on March 23 and the Grade III $150,000 Beaumont Stakes at Keeneland on April 7 as possible next spots for Bell’s the One.
“We’ve got options now that we know she can go two turns,” Pessin said. “She’ll relax okay going two turns and come running. We’ll have to see where she takes us. We’ll let her tell us what she wants to do as we move going forward.”
Bell’s the One returned $10.40, $5.80 and $4.60 while Fortunate Girl returned $8.60 and $5.60. A 29-1 longshot, Gamblin Train brought back $12.20 to show.
Bell’s the One enhanced her career earnings to $150,600 after taking home the winner’s share of $45,000 from the stakes triumph.
Bred in Kentucky by Bret Jones, Bell’s the One is out of the Street Cry (Ire.) broodmare Street Mate and was a $155,000 purchase from the 2017 Keeneland September Yearling Sale from the consignment barn of Brereton Jones.