09/13/2008 12:00AM

Music Note cruises after rival's scratch


ELMONT, N.Y. - Music Note continued her love affair with Belmont Park, cruising to an 8 1/2-length win Saturday in the Grade 1, $250,000 Gazelle Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

The Gazelle was her fourth straight win at Belmont, including three straight Grade 1's: the Mother Goose, the Coaching Club American Oaks, and now the Gazelle.

It was also a solid rebound effort from her loss by a head to Proud Spell in the Grade 1 Alabama at Saratoga.

In truth, Music Note ($2.10) didn't have to work very hard to beat three rivals in the 1 1/8-mile Gazelle. The mission got easier when Country Star, the only other Grade 1 winner in the field, flipped in the starting gate and was a late scratch.

That reduced the field to four, forcing the refund of over $750,000 in show bets.

Music Note also had a gate incident of her own, breaking open the barrier moments before Country Star flipped. Music Note did not run off, however - which was bad news for her three remaining rivals.

Jockey Javier Castellano had Music Note settled third in the early stages before letting his star take charge midway on the turn. The rider was motionless in the lane as Music Note rolled to her fifth win in seven starts.

"She was comfortable and relaxed," Castellano said. "She did it the right way. At the three-eighths pole, she grabbed the bit. She wanted to go. I took care of her in the lane for her next race."

Which will probably be the Breeders' Cup, according to trainer Saeed bin Suroor.

"It was a brilliant result," bin Suroor said. "It was an easy, impressive win. She's a tough filly, one of the best two or three in the country."

The time was 1:50.20 on the good track.

Hamsa was second, followed by Awesome I Am and Mega.