Updated on 11/13/2010 5:24PM

Catch a Thief handles longer distance in Twixt

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Catch a Thief, under Harry Vega, stretches out from 6 1/2 furlongs to a mile to win the Twixt.

New York shipper Catch a Thief repelled a stretch challenge from Baltimore Belle to earn the first stakes victory of her career in Saturday’s $50,000 Twixt at Laurel Park.

Facing Maryland-breds and racing beyond 6 1/2 furlongs for the first time, Catch a Thief ($2.60), under Harry Vega, led nearly the entire one-mile distance of the Twixt, but Baltimore Belle, bidding for her fourth straight win, briefly put her head in front near the quarter pole. The two raced on even terms in midstretch until Catch a Thief dug down and drew clear in the final furlong to prevail by 3 1/4 lengths. The winning time was 1:38.39.

It was the fourth win in seven starts for Catch a Thief, a daughter of Flatter trained by Tim Hills.

“I thought we were in trouble turning for home because it is more of a deeper track than she’s been racing on,” Hills said. “I wasn’t too worried about the distance. Flatter is an A.P. Indy and a mile is well within her scope.”

Catch a Thief has finished first or second in all seven career starts. Baltimore Belle, who won the Maryland Million Oaks in her last start, has finished first or second in eight of her nine races this season.

“Beating a horse like Baltimore Belle you got to have on your running shoes,” said Vega. “My filly, as soon as she got headed, got mad and started to run. It’s a good feeling when you get a horse hooked and you’re the one that takes off. Both fillies ran well.”

Baltimore Belle was easily second, 9 3/4 lengths in front of 28-1 longshot Brave as a Lion.