01/16/2010 12:00AM

Northern Belle takes show to Oaklawn

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HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Northern Belle makes herself at home wherever she goes, but she looks like she might have a special affinity for Oaklawn Park. She won her first stakes here Saturday, when she edged past favorite One Smokin' Lady late in the $50,000 American Beauty.

It was the first Oaklawn start for Northern Belle, who earlier in her career had placed in stakes at Philadelphia Park and Saratoga and won races at Fair Grounds, Delaware Park and Keeneland.

"She's a real class act and tries hard every time," said Steve Margolis, who trains Northern Belle for Martin Cherry. "She's a professional."

Northern Belle ($10.40) sat in fourth in the six-furlong race Saturday as One Smokin' Lady jumped out to the lead and put up fractions of 22.92 seconds for the opening quarter and 47.88 for the half-mile on a track rated good. Northern Belle moved up around the turn and ran down the leader to cover the six furlongs in 1:14.19.

"She showed a lot of grit," said Margolis.

One Smokin' Lady, who drifted in the drive, was disqualified from second and placed fourth after a stewards' inquiry. The decision moved Syriana's Song up to second and Auspicious to third.

Terry Thompson was aboard Northern Belle. Margolis said the filly, who is based at Fair Grounds, could return to Oaklawn for the $60,000 Spring Fever on Feb. 20.

Oaklawn drew an ontrack crowd of 18,592.