10/03/2009 12:00AM

Music Note best in Beldame


ELMONT, N.Y. - In a result only slightly less likely than death and taxes, the Godolphin-owned Music Note ($2.50) ran down 5-2 second choice Unbridled Belle to win Saturday's 70th running of the by 2 1/4 lengths under Rajiv Maragh. Unbridled Belle was second by better than nine lengths, and Copper State was third by almost 14 lengths in the strung-out field of five fillies and mares.

Unbridled Belle, the 2007 Beldame winner, quickly grabbed the lead out of the chute through a soft first quarter in 24.24 seconds, with her entrymate, Captain's Lover, hovering close by outside and keeping Music Note boxed in along the rail.

That Team Valor tandem continued to keep Music Note bottled up through a half-mile in 47.99 seconds, but the strategy unraveled midway around the turn when Captain's Lover couldn't keep pace through six furlongs in 1:11.66 seconds.

Music Note moved outside Unbridled Belle approaching the stretch, gained the lead in midstretch after a mile in 1:35.90 seconds, and edged away to win the 1 1/8-mile race in 1:48.49 over a track rendered wet-fast by showers that arrived with 15 minutes to post.

"I was comfortable because I didn't want to go too early - I wanted to get my filly to relax," said Maragh. "Once she got behind horses, she let go of the bit and got into a nice, high cruising speed. I knew they were going to spread out at some point. Once they did that, then I made a run to get clear."

Music Note won her fifth Grade 1 race overall - and fourth at Belmont to go along with wins in the Mother Goose, Coaching Club American Oaks, and Gazelle as a 3-year-old. She is the second straight Beldame winner for Godolphin and trainer Saeed bin Suroor, who won the race last year with Cocoa Beach, and also in 2002 with Imperial Gesture.

Suroor upped his record in Grade 1 races in New York this year to 4-3-1 from 10 starters.

"She showed a good turn of foot, she's ready now to go to the Breeders' Cup," said Suroor, who said a contingent of Goldolpin horses will leave for California on Tuesday.

"She looks much better than ever," said Suroor. "She's much stronger than last year."