ELMONT, N.Y. – La Signare surged to the lead and fended off 4-5 favorite Significant Form in the stretch to win the fifth running of the Grade 3, $200,000 Wonder Again for 3-year-old fillies on Thursday at Belmont Park.
In her stakes – and Belmont debut – jockey Joel Rosario sent La Signare to the front on the firm inner turf, going an opening quarter-mile in 26.36 seconds and the half in 50.95. Out of the far turn, jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. made a bid with Significant Form to pass the front runner from the outside, but La Signare was geared down and outkicked her challenger, completing 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.84 in winning by one length.
“This one had some speed, that’s for sure,” Rosario said. “She ran very good. She ran nice early, and ran very good after that. She relaxed very nicely and had a long slow gallop early, and before turning for home, I said, ‘well it’s great, because I know we were going slow,’ and she handled it really well. Good run. I like her. It’s always good when they run like that.”
Off at 6-1, La Signare paid $14.60 on a $2 win bet in the last of three stakes on Opening Day of the three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival leading into Saturday’s 150th Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets. The French-bred Siyouni filly nearly increased her career bankroll five-fold to $144,413.
“I didn’t really think there was a lot of speed in the race, so it was going to be a bit of a cat and mouse game,” said trainer Brian Lynch, who won his first race of the Belmont spring/summer meet and followed that with Emmy Performance’s win in Race 9 in the day’s finale. “I’m always a big believer that pace makes the race, so we put her where she was comfortable and evidently that’s where she was comfortable. She had been doing so well coming into the race, so it didn’t surprise me that that’s where she ended up.”
After breaking her maiden at second asking in her native country, La Signare ran second in her North American debut against allowance company on April 11 at Keeneland. In her first start in the Wonder Again distance, LA Signare bested an accomplished field, including graded-stakes winners Significant Form, Andina Del Sur and Daddy Is a Legend.
La Signare, owned by Madaket Stables, Tim Cambron, Anna Cambron and Bradley Thoroughbreds, could be pointed to the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Oaks Invitational on July 7, Stars & Stripes Day, contested at 1 ¼ miles.
“If she was able to relax, I had a feeling that she could get a mile and an eighth,” Lynch said. “If they let her get away with easy fractions, I knew she wasn’t going to be short. To take that step [to the Belmont Oaks] we needed to run here. It’s nice when a plan comes together.”
Significant Form, who won the Grade 3 Miss Grillo was a 2-year-old and ran fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, was coming off a win in the Memories of Silver and has two wins and a runner-up finish in five career starts for trainer Chad Brown. Her stablemate, Mighty Scarlett, got up for third in her first stakes start.
Daddy Is a Legend, Altea, Andina Del Sur, Camila Princess, Armoricaine and Spinning Top completed the order of finish. Animosity was scratched.