By Anthony Affrunti
ELMONT, N.Y. – Alpha Delta Stable’s multiple graded-stakes winner Lewis Bay enjoyed a patient stalking trip under jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. to win Friday’s Grade 3, $250,000 Bed o’ Roses Invitational by 5 ½ lengths on the second day of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival at Belmont Park.
The Bed o’ Roses was the first of five stakes on Day 2 of the Festival, which is highlighted by the 150th running of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes, presented by NYRA Bets, on Saturday.
Leaving from post 6, Lewis Bay tracked the speedy Divine Miss Grey, who rattled off a quarter-mile in 22.63 seconds and followed up with a half-mile in 45.32.
As the tightly packed field made their way around the turn, Lewis Bay cut the corner with Highway Star and Cairenn in pursuit, but Lewis Bay took command through the stretch, while Highway Star closed for second and Carienn settled for third.
The winning time for seven furlongs was 1:21.11 over a fast main track.
“I got a perfect trip,” Ortiz Jr. said. “She broke good and got good position. I loved my post position. When I talked to [trainer] Chad [Brown] before the race, I told him I love the post because she’s always breaking from the inside. She appreciated the outside post. Everything went perfect.
“I wasn’t surprised to be close to the pace. We tried to take back the last couple times and she doesn’t want to do that. She really finished today. It was good.”
Off the board once in 14 career starts prior to the Bed o’ Roses, the 5-year-old mare by Bernardini was winless from three starts this year, finishing second behind Martini Glass in the Grade 3 Royal Delta at Gulfstream Park, third in the Grade 1 Madison at Keeneland and third in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff on the May 5 Kentucky Derby undercard at Churchill Downs.
“She’s had two hard races in Grade 1s where she’s run very credible,” Brown said. “Last time at Churchill, on that sealed track, she came out of there with a quarter crack in her right front foot. I’m not saying she would’ve won. But it definitely was a legitimate injury coming out of there and it took her a while to recover and get it together. We breezed her a couple of times and she seemed to be ready to go back in the entry box. She’s very fit and she loves Belmont.”
Brown said he would consider the Grade 1, $500,000 Ballerina on August 25 at Saratoga Race Course, with a possible prep in the Grade 2, $200,000 Honorable Miss Handicap on July 25.
Rounding out the field of five after three defections were Divine Miss Grey, who was 4 ½ lengths in front of American Gal.
Lewis Bay returned $8.20 for a $2 win wager.