10/05/2007 11:00PM

Indian Blessing rates just enough

EmailELMONT, N.Y. - The work trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Garrett Gomez did in the morning to get Indian Blessing to relax paid off handsomely Saturday afternoon as Indian Blessing rolled to a 4 1/2-length victory in the Grade 1, $400,000 Frizette Stakes at Belmont Park.

Backseat Rhythm finished second, 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Sunday Holiday.

The victory was the second from as many starts for Indian Blessing, a daughter of Indian Charlie owned by Patti and Hal Earnhardt III and trained by Baffert. It more than likely earned her a spot in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Monmouth Park on Oct. 27.

Indian Blessing was coming off a 5 1/4-length maiden victory at Saratoga, a race she won on the lead while running 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.26. Since then, Baffert has been trying to slow Indian Blessing down in the mornings, working her in company and behind horses.

In the Frizette, Indian Blessing broke sharply but Gomez was able to get her off Dill or No Dill, who went to the front under Mike Luzzi and ran fractions of 22.58 seconds and 45.45 for the half-mile. Gomez, meanwhile, had a strong hold of Indian Blessing, who was within a half-length of Dill or No Dill.

Midway around the far turn, Gomez could not hold Indian Blessing any longer, and she made the lead just before the three-furlong marker. She came into the stretch with a 5 1/2-length lead that bulged to eight lengths a furlong out. Indian Blessing settled for a 4 1/2-length victory while covering the mile in 1:37.64. Her final quarter was a pedestrian 27.24 seconds. She returned $3.30 as the favorite.

"She shut off just enough for me today, but when I started to catch the other filly, the other filly started to fold a little bit and I didn't want to overslow her down," Gomez said.

"She semi-rated," Baffert said. "You never know about the distance until they go out and do it. It looked like [Gomez] was shutting her down in the stretch and then I hear the crowd getting excited and I said, 'Uh-oh, she better get started again.' "

Four Frizette winners have come back to win the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, the last being Storm Flag Flying in 2002. Three Frizette runner-ups have also won the Juvenile Fillies, including Open Mind, Go for Wand, and My Flag.