10/30/2015 5:18PM

America takes charge to win Turnback the Alarm

Chelsea Durand/NYRA
America wins the Turnback the Alarm Handicap on Friday at Belmont Park.

Seizing the early initiative in a race without a clear-cut pacesetter on paper, Chris DeCarlo hustled America to the lead down the backstretch, and they never looked back in winning Friday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Turnback the Alarm Handicap at Belmont Park.

Toting the top weight of 118 pounds, America ($8.80) bounded clear through manageable fractions of 23.81 seconds, 47.32, and 1:11.55. The 4-year-old daughter of A.P. Indy shook off a challenge from La Madrina in upper stretch and drove clear to score decisively over Delightful Joy, who rallied for second as the 4-5 favorite. Call Pat came wide with a belated run to get third over La Madrina, who drifted out through midstretch and faded to fourth.

“[Trainer Bill Mott] told me to help her get away from there and that there was a lack of pace,” said DeCarlo. “Once we went about an eighth of a mile and she got into a good rhythm, I just left her alone and let her do the rest. Nobody was going, so I wasn’t going to take it away from her.”

Bred and owned by celebrity chef Bobby Flay, America ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.96 and notched her first graded stakes victory in improving to 5-0-3 from 19 career starts.

“She got a little class relief, which is exactly what she was looking for,” said assistant trainer Leanna Willaford. “Chris had her engaged fairly early, and once she gets into a stride, she carries on. Our deal is to let them break out of there and don’t take anything away from them that comes easily.”

Mountain Music Man wins Awad

In the $100,000 Awad Stakes for 2-year-olds, Mountain Music Man ($13) saved ground early, a few lengths behind the leaders, swung out three wide turning for home, and forged to the lead in deep stretch to win the one-mile turf race in 1:37.11 over a Widener course rated good.

Ridden by Manny Franco, Mountain Music Man, a $450,000 purchase in May, was coming off a debut victory sprinting on the main track for trainer Todd Pletcher. The versatile Bluegrass Cat colt earned $60,000 and now is 2 for 2 for owners Robert and Lawana Low.

“He made a winning move and looked good doing it,” said assistant trainer Byron Hughes. “We worked him twice over this turf, and he really seemed to like it. Given his pedigree and since we had an opportunity to breeze him over the turf, we thought it was a good chance [to try turf], and the timing set up for this race. It worked out well.”

Converge rallied from far back to finish second with a big late run. Pagan was up late for third over Rappel, who had taken over the lead from early pacesetter Don’t Be So Salty.

Monster Bea stumbled at the start and unseated rider J.D. Acosta. Horse and rider appeared to emerge from the incident unscathed.