09/22/2012 6:27PM

Belmont Park: Dust and Diamonds sets stakes record in Gallant Bloom


A total lack of graded stakes experience was no problem at all for Dust and Diamonds, who dusted her more accomplished rivals in Saturday's 19th running of the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom Handicap at Belmont Park.

Racing over a fast main track that has produced blistering times in recent days, Dust and Diamonds raced closest to pacesetter Roman Treasure through early fractions of 21.82 and 44.49 seconds, took over into the stretch, and edged away under Julien Leparoux to win the 6 1/2-furlong race in 1:14.71, shattering Indian Blessing's previous stakes mark of 1:15.29 in 2008. The time was just .25 of a second off the track record shared by Bear Fan and Super Shape.
"She broke very sharp, as usual, and she was very relaxed the first quarter," said Leparoux. "Then she just took me into the race and finished up strong."

Judy the Beauty finished 1 1/4 lengths behind the winner, and was clearly second best by 3 1/4 lengths over Musical Romance in third. Turbulent Descent was a length farther back in fourth as the 6-5 favorite.

Roman Treasure, Emma's Encore, C C's Pal and Island Bound completed the order of finish.

The $200,000 Gallant Bloom was a Breeders' Cup Challenge Win and You're In race, so Dust and Diamonds, who was making her graded-stakes debut and just her fourth start this year, earned a fees-paid berth to the Filly and Mare Sprint at Santa Anita on Nov. 3.

Dust and Diamonds, a 4-year-old daughter of Vindication bred and owned by Padua Stables, earned $120,000 in notching her third consecutive victory for Steve Asmussen.

"We've spent a lot of time with her, and she's done really well and blossomed here," said assistant trainer Toby Sheets. "We'll see how she comes out of it and go from there."