11/01/2015 5:57PM

Lady Sabelia returns to score easy victory in Pumpkin Pie

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Lady Sabelia wins the Pumpkin Pie Stakes by seven lengths Sunday at Belmont Park.

Returning from a layoff with a jaw-dropping performance, Lady Sabelia rallied wide into the stretch and swept past the leaders like they were standing still to win Sunday’s $100,000 Pumpkin Pie, the closing-day feature and final dirt race at Belmont’s fall meet.

Based at Laurel Park with trainer Robin Graham, Lady Sabelia originally was intended to return four weeks ago in the Roamin Rachel at Parx Racing but stayed home when a quarantine went into effect at Parx the day before the race.

Lady Sabelia went wire to wire in the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie last winter but opted for rating tactics in the Pumpkin Pie, racing in fifth position around the turn under patient handling from regular rider Horacio Karamanos as R Free Roll set a pace of 22.52 seconds and 45.54.

Lady Sabelia eased out four wide into the lane, quickly inhaled R Free Roll, and drew out under mild hand urging to win by seven easy lengths in 1:09.03 for six furlongs. R Free Roll saved the place narrowly over Tea Time and Hey Kiddo. Classic Point, last year’s winner, was no factor and checked in fifth as the 3-2 favorite.

“We expected her to win today, and she did,” said Karamanos. “She broke well out of the gate. The only thing with this filly is that if she’s not covered up, she can get rank. Once you get her covered up behind somebody, she reacts so well. She was moving nice and easy behind those horses, so I knew by the five-sixteenths pole that I already had it.”

Lady Sabelia, who wears a protective goggle due to an easily irritated eye, earned $60,000 and upped her career record to 9-3-3 from 17 starts.

“She had been going too fast … so we changed the equipment with her a little bit,” said Graham. “Her early races, she would sit just off the pace, so that’s what we were hoping for, and Horacio said today as soon as he got her covered up, she relaxed, and it was perfect.”