09/27/2014 4:57PM

Belle Gallantey all the way in Beldame

Barbara D. Livingston
Belle Gallantey and jockey Jose Ortiz win the Grade 1 Beldame by 8 1/4 lengths Saturday.

ELMONT, N.Y. – It truly was a super Saturday at Belmont Park for trainer Rudy Rodriguez, who, 30 minutes after winning the Grade 2 Kelso with Vyjack, came right back to take the Grade 1 Beldame with Belle Gallantey, a 5-year-old mare he claimed for $35,000 last December.

The Beldame was the second Grade 1 win for Belle Gallantey, who races for Michael Dubb, Gary Aisquith, and Bethlehem Stables. She won the Grade 1 Delaware Handicap in July.

The $400,000 Beldame and $750,000 Delaware Handicap were practically mirror images of each other. Belle Gallantey bounded to the lead in fields lacking speed and won comfortably.

Belle Gallantey was never seriously challenged Saturday. Under regular rider Jose Ortiz, she clicked off fractions of 24.18 seconds, 47.51, and 1:11.20 and then pulled away from her competition in the stretch to score by 8 1/4 lengths while geared down late. She covered a mile in 1:35.03 and completed 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.55.
Belle Gallantey paid $11.40 as the third betting choice in the field of seven.

Stopchargingmaria's three-race winning streak, which consisted of the Grade 1 Alabama, Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks, and Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan, came to an end in the Beldame. She raced closest to Belle Gallantey throughout and was second-best as the 8-5 favorite, finishing 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Endless Chatter in third.

After the race, neither Dubb nor Rodriguez would commit Belle Gallantey to the Breeders' Cup Distaff.

"She's won two Grade 1's, so she is certainly deserving, but one step at a time," said Dubb, the founder of the Beechwood Organization, one of the nation's largest homebuilders, and a member of the New York Racing Association board of directors. "Close Hatches, Beholder, and Iotapa are all out there. I guess we'll see what the race looks like. The trip is 3,000 miles."

Belle Gallantey has won 4 of 6 starts since Rodriguez claimed her out of a fourth-place finish over the inner track at Aqueduct.

One of her losses came in the Grade 1 Phipps, where she rallied from off the pace to finish fifth, beaten 1 3/4 lengths, by Close Hatches. The other came in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign, her start prior to the Beldame, where she was beaten 25 lengths by Close Hatches over a muddy track.

"At Saratoga, the track was hard and sloppy, and I just don't think she liked it," Rodriguez said. "She was facing better horses, too."

Belle Gallantey is based with Rodriguez at Aqueduct. Rodriguez and his brother, Gustavo, get aboard her during morning training hours.

"She's a nice, big filly, and she's tough to beat once she gets galloping along," Rodriguez said with a smile.
And few people had more reason to smile Saturday at Belmont than Rodriguez.