02/11/2012 5:50PM

Gulfstream: Snow Top Mountain breaks through with Suwannee River victory

Barbara D. Livingston
Snow Top Mountain (8), with Jose Lezcano riding, defeats Hit It Rich in the Suwannee River.

After coming close in several graded stakes races in her career, Snow Top Mountain finally was victorious in one, rallying from well off the pace under Jose Lezcano to take Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Suwannee River Stakes by one-half length over Hit It Rich at Gulfstream Park. It was three-quarters of a length back to Gold d'Oro in third.

Snow Top Mountain, a 5-year-old daughter of Najran, had previously competed in seven graded races, finishing second in the Arlington Oaks, Regret, and Grade 1 Garden City as a 3-year-old. In her final start as a 4-year-old, Snow Top Mountain was third, beaten three-quarters of a length in the Grade 3 My Charter at Calder.

Saturday, over a turf course labeled good, Snow Top Mountain was seventh of eight - about seven lengths off the pace - while Speak Easy gal set fractions of 25.38 seconds for the quarter, 50.04 for the half-mile, and 1:14.93 for six furlongs, stalked by Persuading.

Lezcano swung Snow Top Mountain out widest of all turning for home, and she outfinished Hit It Rich to get the win.

Snow Top Mountain, owned and bred by Barbara Hunter and trained by Tom Proctor, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:52.86 and returned $11.

"Lots of times she gets up there and hangs," Proctor said from Chicago, where he was to attend a friend's wedding Saturday night. "This time she didn't."

Snow Top Mountain is the younger sister of Keertana, a five-time Grade 3 winner.

"Maybe she's not a little sister anymore," Proctor said.

Speak Easy Gal finished fourth and was followed by Denomination, the 2-1 favorite, Thundering Emilia, Persuading, and Heavenly Landing.