10/13/2014 5:04PM

Lady Lara wins Pebbles Stakes; Classic Point takes Punkin Pie

Joe Labozzetta/NYRA photo
Lady Lara and jockey Junior Alvarado win the Pebbles Stakes by a half-length Monday.

Charging down the center of the course, Lady Lara was along in the final strides to make her U.S. debut a winning one in Monday’s $200,000 Pebbles Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

Coming off a win against males in England just 24 days ago, Lady Lara unleashed a sustained stretch run under Junior Alvarado to run down Distorted Beauty by a half-length.

“I had the whole crowd in front of me,” said Alvarado. “Turning for home, when I put her outside, I saw the horse in front was eight lengths in front of me. I thought, ‘Oh, no.’ But once she was in the clear, she really took off.”

Lady Lara ($21.20), the only filly in the Pebbles not on Lasix, ran one mile in 1:35.31 over a Widener turf course labeled “good” and improved to 3-2-3 from 14 starts overall while making her first start for Bill Mott, who sent out another 3-year-old filly, Crown Queen, to win Saturday’s Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland.

“We can’t take much credit for the win,” said Mott. “The previous trainer [Timothy Jarvis] gets all the credit. We just picked her up out of quarantine. Maybe after this race or another one, we’ll give her the winter off and bring her back in the spring. It looks like she’s got a bright future in front of her.”

Distorted Beauty cut out fractions of 24.14 seconds, 48.05, and 1:11.86 and held on gamely to be clearly second-best over Walk Close and Sandiva.

• Earlier on the card, Classic Point ($13.60) added blinkers and virtually beat the gate en route to a wire-to-wire, 6 1/4-length victory in the $100,000 Punkin Pie Stakes.

Classic Point led to the final strides of the same race last year for Allen Jerkens, and the 5-year-old mare was making her second start for Jimmy Jerkens, after giving futile chase in a fast-paced edition of the Gallant Bloom Handicap.

“I put the blinkers on because I thought it might help her if she got in between horses,” said Jerkens, who was notching his first victory at the meet. “I didn’t know if she would be on the lead or not but said not to discourage her if she was. She broke really well today, and I thought she’d be in business when she came out of there real good.”

Despite rider Irad Ortiz Jr. losing his whip, Classic Point sped the seven furlongs in 1:22.43 on a fast track and earned $60,000 while upping her record to 6-4-1 from 29 starts.

“She broke in front and was happy to be there,” said Ortiz. “Turning for home, she switched leads, and I only had to hit her one time before she took off. When I changed [to a left-handed whip], I lost it. I looked around, and there was no one near us, so I took off my goggles and tried to keep going. She did it easy.”

Unbound rallied along the rail to get second over even-money favorite Voodoo Tales, as Wildcat Lily and Katie’s Garden completed the order of finish.