Updated on 09/17/2011 11:23PM

Blanc's gamble pays as Noisette adapts

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Noisette wins the Indian Maid Handicap at Hawthorne on Saturday.

STICKNEY, Ill. - Faced with the choice of losing ground on the far turn or hoping for daylight in the stretch, jockey Brice Blanc rolled the dice and took the shorter route.

Never mind that the connections of Noisette had cautioned Blanc that the mare prefers to go around, rather than between, horses. Never mind that a wall of three blocked Blanc's path for more than half the stretch run. A sliver of daylight opened a sixteenth of a mile from the finish of the . Blanc put Noisette's nose in it, and Noisette said, "Why not?" She pushed past the accomplished filly Sister Swank and won by a length, her second consecutive victory in Chicago.

Noisette, who shipped in from trainer Bill Mott's Churchill Downs base, has won only twice this season, but call the year a success. A $102,900 paycheck in the $171,500 Indian Maid boosted her earnings to more than $241,000 this year, and she now has a good listed stakes win to go with her last-out victory in the Grade 3 Modesty at Arlington.

The Indian Maid was the day's first turf race, and the grass was listed as "good" - it probably was wetter than that - after heavy rain hit earlier in the afternoon. Chic Dancer looked on paper like the speed of the race, but it was Samantha B. who went to the lead from post 1, and took the field through an opening quarter-mile in 26.41 seconds and a half in a glacial 52.23. Chic Dancer tracked under a hold in second, with Sister Swank up close and on the inside third. Noisette trailed the lead group by a few lengths down the backstretch and into the far turn, when Blanc committed himself to an inside trip.

"It got tight going in there," Blanc said. "She didn't hesitate, though. She just went right through after I put her up in there."

About 100 yards from the finish, with Noisette pushing her way through traffic, there were four horses lined up across the track. But at the finish, Noisette was clear of Sister Swank and going away. She had to survive a claim of foul by jockey Chris Emigh on Chic Dancer, but the stewards did not take long in disallowing the claim.

Samantha B. came back on for third, followed by Chic Dancer, Atlantic Frost, and Journey Fever. Noisette, owned by Haras Santa Maria de Araras, was timed in 1:48.79 for 1 1/16 miles, and paid $6.20 to win.