02/18/2008 1:00AM

Eight Belles leaves her foes far behind


Eight Belles indicated her intent to be a force in the 3-year-old filly division this year when she cruised to a 13 1/2-length win in the second division of the $50,000 Martha Washington Stakes on Sunday at Oaklawn Park. It was the second straight blowout win for Eight Belles, who came into the race off a 15-length allowance win at Fair Grounds.

"This filly is serious, and I'm glad to see her duplicate it two races in a row," said Larry Jones, who trains Eight Belles for Rick Porter.

The margin of victory is believed to be the largest in a stakes at Oaklawn, according to the track publicity department.

Eight Belles ($3.60) raced in sixth early as a group of four fillies led by Carnival City raced through an opening quarter in 23.14 seconds, and the opening half-mile in 47.16. Approaching the quarter pole, Eight Belles moved at will to the leaders then drew out through the stretch. She covered the mile over a track rated good in 1:39.17.

"It was just a matter of some room when I got up to the pack," said Terry Thompson, who rode Eight Belles.

Jones said Eight Belles could make her next start in the Grade 3, $100,000 Honeybee at Oaklawn on March 16. The Martha Washington was the stakes debut for Eight Belles, a daughter of Unbridled's Song who has now won 3 of 7 starts and $98,650.

Oh Lovely finished second to Eight Belles, while it was another 1 1/2 lengths back in third to Carnival City.

* In the first division, Sky Mom ($10.20) ran down Maren's Meadows nearing the wire for a one-length win. It was another 5 1/2 lengths back in third to Color Me Up.

Sky Mom broke well and settled in fourth along the rail, as Maren's Meadow cruised on the lead through an opening quarter in 22.66 seconds, the half-mile in 47.25, and six furlongs in 1:12.93. Sky Mom advanced on the final turn, found room into the stretch, and covered the distance in 1:39.51.

Luis Quinonez rode the winner for Heather Stark and trainer Steve Asmussen.