09/15/2012 7:07PM

Calder: Awesome Belle cruises on lead in Judy's Red Shoes over soft going

Coady Photography @ Calder Casino & Race Course
Awesome Belle takes the Judy's Red Shoes by 4 3/4 lengths under Fernando Jara.

MIAMI - Trainer Stanley Gold would rather have seen Saturday’s $75,000 Judy’s Red Shoes Stakes run on a firm turf course or switched to the main track rather than having it left on a course rated somewhere between “good” and “yielding.” But no matter the surface, nobody was beating Gold’s top 3-year-old filly Awesome Belle on this day.

Awesome Belle was allowed to coast on an uncontested lead during the early stages of the 1 1/16-mile Judy’s Red Shoes and never looked back, steadily widening her advantage through midstretch before cruising to an easy 4 3/4-length victory under jockey Fernando Jara. Jazz swung out at the top of the stretch and outfinished Fine Silver by 1 1/4 length to be second.

Wicked Night was pulled up after stumbling over the soft footing on the far turn.

The victory was the third in succession for Awesome Belle, a homebred daughter of Awesome of Course, owned by Fred Brei’s Jacks or Better Farm. She paid $6.20.

“I was really worried about the condition of the turf course,” said Gold. “No one knew what the track was really going to be like. Honestly I was surprised the race stayed on the turf and at the time disappointed because I was afraid if it was a soft turf it might not be a speed-favoring track. I was hoping for either a good, firm turf or the dirt and I didn’t care what the dirt was like.”

Gold said Awesome Belle’s improvement during the second half of the season was more a factor of pace scenarios than anything else.

“We ran her in the short races here earlier this year with the instructions being to go to the front and if she made the lead fine, if they pressed her it would be good for Redbud Road,” said Gold, referring to his other multiple stakes winning 3-year-old filly, who finished a distant seventh in the Judy’s Red Shoes. “And three races in a row somebody went with her and they went 44 and change. But if she makes the lead like she did today, she’s very dangerous.”

Needles: Mucho Mas Mucho comes from last

Mucho Mas Mucho used a completely opposite modus operandi than Awesome Belle to win the $75,000 Needles, rallying from last under jockey Juan Leyva to post a neck decision over the 4-5 Empire Builder. Musical Flair finished third after having to alter course near midstretch.

Mucho Mas Mucho, a son of Macho Uno trained by Henry Collazo for Signal Hill Farms, had only one horse beat turning for home before launching a steady rally that carried him to the first stakes victory of his career. Empire Builder opened a clear lead through midstretch but could not contain the winner in quest of his fourth stakes win in his last five starts.