04/16/2011 6:54PM

Gulfstream Park: Miss Blakely wins stretch duel in South Beach Stakes

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Bob Coglianese
Miss Blakely outfinishes Bet on the Blue to win the South Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – The $60,000 South Beach was the only one of eight scheduled turf races to survive the rain Saturday at Gulfstream Park. And it was Miss Blakely who survived a furious stretch duel over the yielding course to capture the South Beach by a head over Bet on the Blue, with Carem Crescent finishing another neck back in third.

The 7 1/2-furlong South Beach scratched down from 13 to nine starters, with three of the four horses who came out belonging to trainer Marty Wolfson, including likely favorite Cherokee Queen. Aside from not having to face the favorite, Miss Blakely also benefitted from the four scratches by moving in from her original post 13 to post 9.

With leading rider Paco Lopez aboard, Miss Blakely stalked the early leaders while racing three wide and then was able to run down pacesetter Carem Crescent and hold safe Bet on the Blue, despite racing from tough position between horses in late stretch. Mystic Miracle, the tepid 5-2 favorite, fanned five wide rallying into the stretch and rallied belatedly to finish fourth.

Miss Blakely covered the distance in 1:32.18 and paid $8.80.

“She loves this turf course and likes the yielding ground, so I was hoping they’d leave it on,” said Joseph Orseno who trains Miss Blakely for Capital Hill Thoroughbreds and Herb Oster. “She’s so versatile, I’d have run, if they took it off. She’s by Smart Strike, runs on turf and synthetics, and is Canadian-bred, so there are plenty of options for her as the season goes on. ”