07/09/2011 5:44PM

Delaware Park: Cheetah comes from far back to capture Robert Dick Memorial

Hoofprints Inc.
Cheetah, ridden by Jose Lezcano, wins her first stakes since coming to the United States from England in the Robert Dick Memorial.

The British import Cheetah didn’t do much running in the first mile of Saturday’s Robert Dick Memorial Stakes at Delaware Park. But she sure finished fast.

Ahead of just one horse in the field of 12 fillies and mares and 9 1/2 lengths behind the leader with three furlongs remaining, Cheetah finished full of run to draw clear to a 3 3/4-length victory in the Grade 3, $202,400 Dick.

In winning for the first time on turf after five losses, four in England the other a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay at Belmont Park, the 4-year-old Cheetah ($5.80) covered 1 3/8 miles on yielding ground in 2:13.13.

Despite the soft turf, Cheetah’s final time was the fastest since the Dick was lengthened from 1 1/16 miles to its present distance in 1999 and nearly six seconds faster than last year’s 2:19.02 posted by the Bill Mott-trained Treat Gently. The Beyer Speed Figure, however, came back a 95, one point less than  Padilla's winning figure in 2008 and five points below the 100 posted by Rosinka in 2007.

Bubbly Jane, a two-time Group 1 winner in her native Brazil making her first start in more than a year, finished second. It was another 1  1/2 lengths farther back to Dyna Waltz in third. Ainamaa, with Abel Castellano Jr., set early fractions of 1:11.99 for six furlongs and 1:36.85 for the mile before fading to fourth.

Cheetah, trained by Christophe Clement since making her United States debut in April, improved her career record to 4 wins from 9 starts with earnings of $209,932.

“Mr. Clement told me let her break and rate her where you can,” said winning rider Jose Lezcano. “In the stretch, she had a fabulous kick and she is a very nice filly. At the quarter pole, everybody was looking for a spot, but I had so much horse, I had to wait for the right moment to be clear. She was very impressive.”

Surface switch helps Awesome Bet take Barbaro

Awesome Bet ($20), returning to dirt after an unsuccessful two-race experiment on turf, came from far back to upset  the $100,000 Barbaro for 3-year-olds.

Ridden for the first time by Kent Desormeaux, Awesome Bet was ahead of only one horse in the field of nine after the first six furlongs of the mile-and-70-yard Barbaro and was still sixth, but making up ground on the outside, with a furlong remaining. He outfinished another closer, J W Blue, by a neck while completing the distance on a fast track in 1:40.37. Meistersinger was another three-quarters-of-a-length back in third. Rush Now wound up fourth as the even-money favorite.

Based in Kentucky with trainer Steve Asmussen, Awesome Bet needed five starts to win his maiden back in March at Fair Grounds. He followed up with a victory in a first-level allowance at Oaklawn Park before finishing fifth in his turf debut and seventh of nine in the May 30 Lone Star Derby on grass.