10/29/2016 2:37PM

Lewis Bay dominant in Turnback the Alarm

Robert Mauhar/NYRA
Lewis Bay, under Irad Ortiz Jr., wins the Grade 3 Turnback the Alarm Handicap by 5 1/4 lengths Saturday.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Lewis Bay is a multiple graded stakes winner, but trainer Chad Brown said he’s still not sure he’s figured out this 3-year-old filly.

On Saturday, Brown saw arguably the best performance to date from Lewis Bay, who took the lead soon after the start under Irad Ortiz Jr. and then dominated six overmatched rivals in the Grade 3, $200,000 Turnback the Alarm Handicap at Belmont Park.

Always traveling well and in hand under Ortiz, Lewis Bay set modest fractions of 23.56 seconds for the quarter, 47.36 for the half-mile, 1:12.55 for six furlongs, and then opened it up turning for home and cruised to the wire a 5 1/4-length winner.

Lewis Bay covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.09 and returned $2.90 as the 2-5 favorite.

Flora Dora rallied from well off the pace to get second by 7 1/4 lengths over Eskenformoney. She was followed by Smartly Agree, Rachel’s Temper, Linda Mimi, and Innovative Idea.

The win was the fourth from nine starts for Lewis Bay, a daughter of Bernardini owned by John Clay’s Alpha Delta Stables. At 2, she won the Grade 2 Demoiselle at Aqueduct, and earlier this year she won the Grade 2 Gazelle, also at Aqueduct, before finishing third in the Kentucky Oaks.

“She’s been a horse that’s had such a good season, yet there’s still some things we’re trying to figure out about her,” Brown said. “A couple of time in her races, she’d move to her left lead in the lane, or she’d wait on horses when she made the lead. She seems to have a lot of natural ability, but she’s not quite a finished product yet.”

Brown said he left the race tactics up to Ortiz, who said he didn’t see much speed in the race other than Innovative Idea. When that filly didn’t break sharply, Ortiz took the initiative, and the race was over early.

“I was going to have to fight her too much to sit second or third, so I let her be there,” Ortiz said. “I was on the lead, I let her relax and tried to hold her together. For me, she was moving good, and she was comfortable, and that’s why she finished better. She really impressed me today because she never finished that good.”

Brown said he would talk with Clay about whether to run Lewis Bay again this year or wait until her 4-year-old season. One possible spot in New York is the Grade 3, $250,000 Go for Wand, a one-turn mile at Aqueduct on Dec. 3.