10/10/2009 12:00AM

Devil May Care holds on in Frizette

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Devil May Care holds off Awesome Maria to win the Frizette by a head.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Todd Pletcher went a little more than two years without winning a Grade 1 race in New York. Saturday, at Belmont Park, he won two Grade 1 races in just more than two hours.

Devil May Care, coming off a dominant maiden win in the slop at Saratoga, held off a late surge from Awesome Maria to win the for 2-year-old fillies by a head. That win came four races after Take the Points won the Grade 1 Jamaica for 3-year-olds on the turf. Prior to that, Pletcher hadn't won a Grade 1 race in New York since English Channel took the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic here Sept. 30, 2007.

English Channel went on to win the Breeders' Cup Turf that year. Devil May Care earned herself an automatic berth into the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies on Nov. 6 should her connections opt to run. She did it with a very professional-looking victory for a second-time starter.

After stumbling slightly at the start under John Velazquez, Devil May Care raced along the rail inside of two horses and just behind Nonna Mia who carved out fractions of 22.70 seconds for the quarter and 45.74 for the half-mile. At the three-eighths pole, Velazquez shot Devil May Care through an opening along the inside to move into second place.

Velazquez then guided Devil May Care outside of Nonna Mia, took over from that one in midstretch, and then held off the late run of even-money favorite Awesome Maria. Devil Mary Care, a half-sister to the graded stakes winner Regal Ransom by Malibu Moon, covered the mile in 1:35.07 and returned $12.80 as the third choice in the field of seven. Awesome Maria finished second, 4 1/4 lengths ahead of Nonna Mia.

"Very professional for a second-time starter," said Pletcher, who trains Devil May Care for David Greathouse's Glencrest Farm. "This filly's done everything right from Day 1. We ran her first time we thought she'd run well. It rained, it came up sloppy, and she handled that well. She had an inside trip against more seasoned horses today and she handled that well."

Velazquez, who said he moved sooner than he wanted, thought his filly got to loafing on the lead, but dug in when Awesome Maria came to her.

"The other one came to her, and she started running," Velazquez said. "I was glad she saw her before we got passed."

Pletcher said he would definitely consider the Breeders' Cup for Devil May Care.

"The big question obviously is how she'll transfer her form to the synthetic," Pletcher said, referring to Santa Anita's Pro-Ride surface. "She certainly ran well enough to [consider] it."

Cornelio Velasquez, the rider of Awesome Maria, said his filly had a good trip but was compromised when three horses in front of her began to stop. Devil May Care got the jump on Awesome Maria, and that filly's late run fell just short.

"My filly, she run big the last part of the race, but it was too late," Velasquez said. "She had perfect trip inside, but at the quarter pole three horses stopped in front of me."

Stanley Hough, trainer of Awesome Maria, who won the Grade 2 Matron last out, said the filly would more than likely get the remainder of the year off.