10/21/2009 12:00AM

Dominguez finds running room just in time


ELMONT, N.Y. - Turning for home in Wednesday's at Belmont Park, Ramon Dominguez, the jockey on Belle Allure, was as anxious as those horseplayers who pounded her to 2-5 favoritism.

"I was panicking a little bit when we turned for home because there was no racing room," said Dominguez, who had Belle Allure in fourth, behind a wall of horses.

But in midstretch, Dominguez found running room and Belle Allure's determined rally enabled her to nip Kristi With a K by a short head in the $106,500 Athenia. It was 1 3/4 lengths back to Cable in third. She was followed in the order of finish by Sunshine for Life, Namaste's Wish, and Miss Lombardi. Rollicking Affair was scratched. The Athenia was postponed from Saturday when inclement weather forced turf racing to the dirt.

The victory was the first in North America for Belle Allure, an Irish-bred daughter of Numerous who was a Group 3 winner in Europe for Rupert Pritchard-Gordon. She is owned by Declan Murray's Ronchalon Stable and trained by Christophe Clement, who also sent out Cable.

"She run a good race, the other filly ran very well too," Clement said. "I thought on that ground, she might not have that explosive of a kick."

Dominguez had Belle Allure in fourth position along the rail while Miss Lombardi set the pace stalked by Sunshine for Life and Kristi With a K three-wide. Those three were in close order through fractions of 24.38 seconds, 48.29, and 1:12.47 for three-quarters of a mile.

Kristi With a K, under Jose Lezcano, made her move to the lead in upper stretch, as Dominguez waited for room, while tipping four wide. Though it looked like Kristi With a K had spurted clear, Belle Allure was able to run her down in the final strides. Belle Allure covered the 1 1/16 miles over good ground in 1:43.30 and returned $2.90.

"I had to take too much of a hold of her for so long I felt like I kind of discouraged her," Dominguez said. "She wasn't the type that when she got racing room she was going to whistle through there; it took her a couple of strides to get going."

Clement said Belle Allure could make her next start in the Grade 3 Cardinal at Churchill Downs on Nov. 21.