07/31/2016 9:33PM

Delia wins with Elegant Bel, not Central Heat, in Luther Burbank

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Trainer Bill Delia expected to be in the winner’s circle Sunday after the $57,350 Luther Burbank at the Sonoma County Fair in Santa Rosa. And he was, but with Elegant Bel ($18.60) and not Central Heat, who was gunning for her eighth straight victory.

“The race developed just like I thought it would,” Delia said. “Nobody had Elegant Bel’s speed. I told Frank (Alvarado) to pop her out and go.”

Alvarado did just that, and Elegant Bel, a 6-year-old Big Brown mare, had breathing room all the way as she set a legitimate pace of 23.50, 48.08, 1:12.76 in the 1 1/16-mile turf race for older fillies and mares.

She opened a big margin turning for home and was 3 1/2 lengths in front at the eighth-pole. Longshot Lucy in Diamonds made up ground through the lane, but Elegant Bel held on to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:44.75. Hijra was third another 1 1/2 lengths back. Central Heat wound up fifth.

“I told (Central Heat’s jockey) Ricardo (Gonzalez) to try to lay second or third, but he could never get up there,” Delia said. “They were concentrating on Central Heat and left Elegant Bel alone on the lead.”

Elegant Bel is a Jerry and Carol Anderson homebred. This was her first stakes try. The victory, worth $33,150, was her sixth in 33 starts. She has now earned $160,870.

“They’re great people to train for,” said Delia. “They’re very excited, and I was happy for them.”

Delia said that Central Heat seemed to come out of the race well.

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