06/15/2007 11:00PM

Lady Belsara wires Chicago


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - One concern entering Arlington Park's first season of Polytrack racing was the consistent failure of speed horses at Keeneland, which has exactly the same kind of Polytrack as Arlington. But don't tell Lady Belsara you can't win on the lead here.

Popping out of the gate and taking a clear early advantage, Lady Belsara fought back gamely when challenged in the stretch by favored Trendy Lady, and won the Grade 3, $175,000 Chicago Handicap by a half-length. Making just the seventh start of her career, Lady Belsara won a stakes in her first try.

Lady Belsara ($18.40), trained in Kentucky by Matthew Kintz for At the Moment Stables, was laid off between September and March, and after a second-place finish at Turfway Park in her comeback race, she won a second-level allowance race at the Keeneland meet. In Arlington's Fit for a Queen Stakes, the prep for the Chicago Handicap, Lady Belsara set a fast pace, tiring slightly in deep stretch to finish third. But speed was holding more on Saturday than most afternoons this meet, and Lady Belsara made the most of it.

She and jockey E.T. Baird kept the pace-pressers at bay through a half-mile in 45.37 seconds, and after Trendy Lady drew alongside, Lady Belsara found a final gear to push clear in the final 100 yards.

"She really dug in and tried," Baird said.

Longshot Dimple Pinch finished third, with My Chickadee fourth. Well-backed California shipper Victorina faded to ninth of 10. Travel Team was scratched.

Celluloid Hero in speedy upset

Spotsgone set a fast pace and led all the way winning the Grade 3 Hanshin Cup here last month, but he could not even make the early lead in a stakes-class allowance race earlier Saturday. Instead, it was longshot Celluloid Hero - trainer Hugh Robertson's second straight high-priced winner on the card - who cut out what should have been taxing splits, but held off Spotsgone to win by three-quarters of a length.

Celluloid Hero, a stakes winner last year at 3, paid $46.80 to win, and his seven-furlong time of 1:22.56 was the fastest so far this year on the new all-weather surface.