07/04/2008 11:00PM

Indian Blessing proves versatile in Prioress win


ELMONT, N.Y. - A flat-footed start proved to be a blessing in disguise for Indian Blessing, who showed a new dimension by coming from off the pace to win Saturday's Grade 1, $250,000 Prioress Stakes by 5 1/4 lengths at Belmont Park.

The previously undefeated By the Light finished second, 3 1/2 lengths ahead of Indian Way. Secret Gypsy and Tale of the West completed the order of finish.

Palanka City, who shipped in from Prairie Meadows, was forced to scratch because trainer Terry Gestes failed to bring her to the race-day security barn. The longshot Honest to Betsy also scratched

Indian Blessing, last year's 2-year-old filly champion, ended a two-race losing streak and has now won 6 of 8 starts and earned $1,847,200 for owners Hal and Patti Earnhardt and trainer Bob Baffert.

Under John Velazquez, Indian Blessing got away slowly and raced in fourth position as Secret Gypsy and By the Light ran an opening quarter-mile in 22.20 seconds. Velazquez guided Indian Blessing into the four path down the backside and she assumed the lead turning for home. With just a vigorous hand ride and one tap of Velazquez's whip, Indian Blessing splashed home an easy winner.

Indian Blessing, a daughter of Indian Charlie, covered the six furlongs in 1:09.36 in the mud and returned $3.30 as one of eight favorites to win on the card.

"I was expecting her to break a little slow, but not as slow as she did today," Velazquez said. "Coming back from long distance when they go back to three-quarters it takes a little bit to get them going. Everybody was looking for me . . . when they looked at me and they went to the inside, I just pointed to the outside and held her together. From then on, it was all her."

* Chestoria ($8.80) rallied three wide around the turn and rallied strongly through the stretch under Eibar Coa and held off Paris Winds for a three-quarter-length victory in the $79,650 Mariensky Stakes for fillies and mares on turf.

Trainer Christophe Clement scratched the morning-line favorite, Vacare, because of the yielding turf condition. Clement said Vacare will train up to the Diana Stakes at Saratoga on July 26.

* Discreet Treasure, a 3-year-old half-brother to the Grade 1 winner Discreet Cat, rallied from 13 lengths off the pace after a half-mile and galloped to a 12 1/4-length win in the day's fifth race, a maiden special weight. Discreet Treasure, a son of El Prado, covered the seven furlongs in 1:25.24 and was taken in hand late by jockey Edgar Prado.

Discreet Treasure is owned by the Einar Robsham Stables LLC and trained by Stanley Hough, the same connections that initially had Discreet Cat before selling him to Godolphin Racing.