Updated on 05/21/2011 1:59PM

Pimlico: Super Espresso battles to Allaire duPont win

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Barbara D. Livingston
Super Espresso and Ramon Dominguez win the Allaire DuPont Distaff at Pimlico.

BALTIMORE – On a day when Life At Ten showed she is still far away from her Grade 1-winning form of a year ago, trainer Todd Pletcher may have found someone to take her place in the distaff division as Super Espresso, an 11-1 outsider, rallied four wide in the stretch to win Saturday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Allaire duPont Distaff Stakes by three-quarters of a length at Pimlico.

Payton d’Oro, who came out in the stretch and brushed Super Espresso – which prompted a brief steward’s inquiry – finished second, 8 1/2 lengths ahead of Life At Ten. Check Point, Decelerator, and Lily Quatorze completed the order of finish.

For Super Espresso, a $1.1 million auction purchase by owner Bobby Flay, it was her first graded stakes win. For Life At Ten, it was her second straight loss this year and third in a row dating back to last year’s Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic debacle, in which she lost contact with the field right from the start and was distanced.

Super Espresso, a daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, was coming off a last-place finish in the Bewitch Stakes at Keeneland, a failed turf experiment.

“If you take out her last race on the grass, which she clearly didn’t like, she’s been a steadily improving filly, and it looks like she continues to improve a little bit, so it was a big effort from her and a big win for her,” Pletcher said. “Life At Ten, a little disappointed obviously. Can’t make much excuse, she had a pretty good trip, was cruising along real well, and kind of flattened out.”

Super Espresso, under Ramon Dominguez, was fifth in the early stages of the race as Lily Quatorze and Decelerator dueled through a quarter in 23.19 seconds and a half-mile in 46.09.

Payton d’Oro, under Gabriel Saez, maintained a ground-saving position inside of Life At Ten, before slipping through the rail turning for home. Dominguez, meanwhile, had to swing four wide in the stretch.

Super Espresso got to Payton d’Oro inside the eighth pole, withstood a bump from a tiring Payton d’Oro, and drew clear for the win. Super Espresso covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.85 and returned $24.20 to win.

“She bumped me when I came to her, [Super Espresso] didn’t care,” Dominguez said. “She’s so big, she was like ‘Come over again if you want.’ . . . She was very professional.”

Life At Ten, the even-money favorite under John Velazquez, appeared to be cruising in third position, but when Velazquez asked her to run turning for home, “she just kind of spun her wheels,” Pletcher said.