06/16/2013 5:15PM

Belmont Park: Maximova takes Bit of Whimsy Stakes to stay perfect

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Joe Lobozzetta
Maximova (inside) wins the Bit of Whimsy Stakes over Mariel N Kathy and Caroline Thomas.

After fighting with her rider early in the race, Maximova had some punch left to knock out Mariel N Kathy in the stretch and win Sunday’s $90,000 Bit of Whimsy Stakes for 3-year-old fillies by a head at Belmont Park.

Mariel N Kathy, who set a tepid pace, held second by a nose over Caroline Thomas, a daughter of the Grade 1-winning mare Bit of Whimsy for whom Sunday’s overnight stakes was named. With Sugar On Top, Magnificent Shirl, and Alternative Meds completed the order of finish.

The win was the third in as many starts for Maximova, a New York-bred daughter of Irish-bred stallion Danehill Dancer owned by Gallaghers Stud and trained by Christophe Clement.

Maximova was a bit rank early under Jose Lezcano, who tried to settle Maximova behind horses and behind a pedestrian pace.

Jose Espinoza had Mariel N Kathy on the lead but in the two path, leaving room on the rail. At the five-sixteenths pole, Lezcano slipped Maximova through the inside, and the race was on from that point through the stretch.

Maximova prevailed after the prolonged stretch duel, covering the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.74. She returned $4.70 as the 6-5 favorite.