12/31/2016 6:47PM

Believe in Bertie's win in Pago Hop is a record-setter

Lou Hodges Jr.
Believe in Bertie paid $5.00 to win in the Pago Hop Stakes.

Believe in Bertie is not a filly who tolerates restraint. She is a two-turn turf horse, but a two-turn turf horse who wants to run fast early and go as far as she can.

On Saturday, in the $75,000 Pago Hop Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, Believe in Bertie did run fast early – and middle, and late. In the end, she had run one mile in 1:34.22, faster than any horse ever had traversed that distance over the Fair Grounds course.

The course record came over grass still listed as firm, but that had taken early- and mid-afternoon rain. One Mean Man won the Woodchopper Stakes two races earlier at the same distance in 1:35.98, while Believe in Bertie was home by 7 3/4 lengths over Gianna’s Dream. Her race was legitimately freakish.

“It was an awesome effort, and we’re very proud of her,” said Brad Cox, who trains Believe in Bertie for her breeders, Richard and Bertram Klein.
Believe in Bertie is a Louisiana-bred, but in name only, a daughter of Langfuhr and the Street Cry mare Saint Bertie. This was her fourth win from nine starts, but her first in an open stakes race.

“We’ve obviously always liked her,” Cox said. “We took a Louisiana-bred to Saratoga and she won there first out. She’s got an unbelievable amount of talent, and it was like she put it all together today.”

Believe in Bertie broke from post 12 under Shaun Bridgmohan and didn’t go straight to the front, but she had gotten the lead by the first turn and was rolling by the time she hit the backstretch. Believe in Bertie went a quarter in a moderate 24.01 seconds, but got her first half in a fast 47.27 while racing well off the rail, Bridgmohan just trying to stay out of her way and keep his filly happy.

Believe in Bertie passed six furlongs in 1:10.85, a very strong fraction for the Fair Grounds course, and took a huge lead into the homestretch, where she never really slowed, getting her final quarter-mile in 23.55, faster than her first quarter, on the way to her course-record performance.

Gianna’s Dream won a photo for second over Frozen Hannah. Most Beautiful, the 2-1 second choice, rallied only mildly for sixth, stretching out to two turns for the first time. Believe in Bertie paid $5 to win – and made the price look like a gift.