06/12/2010 12:00AM

Life at Ten uncatchable in Phipps


ELMONT, N.Y. - Life at Ten completed her evolution from a nice winter horse to a Grade 1 winner with a front-running, 2 3/4-length victory in Saturday's $250,000 at Belmont Park.

Overcoming a stumbling start under John Velazquez, Life at Ten quickly assumed the front and led her four challengers on a futile chase around the Belmont main track. Unrivaled Belle, the 3-5 favorite coming off her upset of Rachel Alexandra in the La Troienne at Churchill Downs last out, finished second by a head over Funny Moon. It was 17 lengths back to Manitoba Miss. Pumpkin Shell finished last.

It was the fifth consecutive victory for Life at Ten, a streak that began in a first-level allowance race at Aqueduct last November, included two stakes victories over Aqueduct's inner track and, most recently, the Grade 3 Sixty Sails at Hawthorne on April 17.

The most anxious moment came at the start when Life at Ten stumbled as the gates opened. But she quickly recovered and opened up a one-length lead over Unrivaled Belle through an opening quarter in 23.22 seconds. Kent Desormeaux moved Unrivaled Belle within a half-length of Life at Ten and the paced quickened to 45.55 seconds for the half-mile and 1:08.40 for six furlongs. Unrivaled Belle drew on even terms with Life at Ten around the far turn, but turning into the stretch Life at Ten opened up again and came home a relatively easy winner.

"Halfway down the backside [Desormeaux] made up his mind he wanted to go with me so I just gave my horse her head and she responded very good to everything I did," Velazquez said. "I gave her a little help at the five-sixteenths pole, she quickened up, and it was all her from there.''

Life at Ten ($6.60), a 5-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon owned by Cynthia DeBartolo and trained by Todd Pletcher, covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:40.72.

Desormeaux said around the far turn he thought Unrivaled Belle was "going to be able to handle the winner, but the winner was too good today.''