10/11/2010 4:57PM

Aruna takes Pebbles Stakes


ELMONT, N.Y. - On Columbus Day, trainer Graham Motion discovered he has another turf stakes filly in his care in Aruna.

Forced to rally four wide entering the stretch of Belmont Park's Widener turf course, Aruna, under Ramon Dominguez, ran past the pacesetting Ultimate Class just outside the sixteenth pole and galloped home a three-length winner of Monday's $100,000 Pebbles Stakes. Bet on the Blue, who raced in third position early, finished second, one-length clear of Sea Road.

Ultimate Class, Musical Rain, Grecian Maiden, Profiteroles, and Ask Me Anything completed the order of finish. Neon Light, the morning-line favorite, was scratched because of an ongoing dispute over a sale from German-based Pavel Kusmin to New York-based Sheila Rosenbloom. House of Grace also scratched.

It was the first stakes win for Aruna, a daughter of Mr. Greeley owned by bred by Flaxman Stable and trained by Graham Motion. Earlier this meet, Motion won the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational for 3-year-old turf fillies with Check the Label.

Aruna entered the Pebbles off a first-level allowance win on closing day at Saratoga in which she overcame a slow pace and a speed-favoring turf course. The Pebbles, a listed $100,000 stakes at a mile, seemed like the logical next hurdle, and Aruna cleared it with aplomb.

"Jonathan Pease had sent her to me, and he really liked her, but she had a little problem with bleeding, so it was logical to send her over here where she could run on Lasix," said Motion, referring to the European-based trainer who had Aruna for her first five starts. "For Jonathan to be that impressed with her, I knew she had to be a very nice filly, because Jonathan is very reserved. I think she really has a future."

Aruna had only one horse beaten down the backside as Ultimate Class, under Javier Castellano, raced out to an uncontested lead through fractions of 23.53 seconds and 47.07.

Dominguez kept a snug hold of Aruna and had her 6 1/2 lengths off the pace until midway around the far turn when he let her launch a four-wide rally that brought her into contention at the quarter pole. With three taps from Dominguez's right-handed whip, Aruna took command outside the sixteenth pole and was a relatively easy winner. She covered the mile in 1:35.03 and returned $4.70 to win as the 6-5 favorite.

"Coming to the half-mile pole, everybody was bunched up inside, and I felt like I had a lot of horse," Dominguez said. "I didn't want to get her in trouble. I had to make a pretty wide, sweeping move on the turn, which I felt like it was a lot to ask of her being that wide. I had to keep after her, but I was pretty pleased with the way she finished up.:

The win was the third on the day for Dominguez, who recorded his 11th multi-win card through the first 21 days of this meet. On seven occasions, Dominguez has won three or more races. He has 36 wins for the meet, 13 more than John Velazquez.