10/28/2005 11:00PM

Pleasant Home steals the show

Pleasant Home with Cornelio Velasquez up wins the Breeders' Cup Distaff on Saturday at Belmont Park.

Pleasant Home, who had never won a Grade 1 race and was dismissed as a 30-1 outsider in the $2 million on Saturday at Belmont Park, roared past her opponents at the top of the stretch and turned a seemingly wide-open race into a one-sided route. She won by 9 1/4 lengths over Society Selection, who beat favored Ashado by a neck for second.

That second-place photo cost Ashado enough money to deny her from overtaking Azeri as the all-time money-winning filly or mare in North America. Ashado, who also was making the final start of her career, needed to finish first or second to bypass Azeri.

Stellar Jayne was fourth in the Distaff and was followed, in order, by In the Gold, Capeside Lady, Nothing But Fun, Hollywood Story, Sweet Symphony, Island Fashion, Happy Ticket, Yolanda B. Too, and Healthy Addiction.

The margin of victory was the second-largest in Breeders' Cup history, behind only Inside Information, who won the Distaff at Belmont Park in 1995 by 13 1/2 lengths. Like Inside Information, Pleasant Home is trained by Shug McGaughey and is owned by Ogden Mills "Dinny" Phipps.

McGaughey was winning the Distaff for the third time and recorded his ninth Breeders' Cup victory, second all-time among trainers to D. Wayne Lukas.

"I was expecting her to run well," McGaughey said, "but I wasn't expecting this."

Pleasant Home ($63.50) completed 1 1/8 miles on the fast main track in 1:48.34. The victory was her fifth in 12 starts. She had finished second in the Spinster Stakes at Keeneland in her previous start. She is a daughter of Seeking the Gold, out of the Pleasant Colony mare Old Country Place.

Pleasant Home, 4, benefited from a hot early pace and a clever ride from jockey Cornelio Velazquez. Capeside Lady led through an opening quarter in 23.33 seconds, but the pace quickened noticeably during the long run down the backstretch, with 10 of the 13 runners within only a few lengths of one another after a half-mile in 46.31 seconds.

Pleasant Home was 12th after a half-mile, but as the field moved around the turn, Pleasant Home began her rally. Velasquez kept her on the rail until the quarter pole, when he swung Pleasant Home to the middle of the track.

She quickly flew past Ashado and Society Selection, who were in tight quarters, and set sail for the finish line.

"She doesn't have any early speed," McGaughey said. "But I thought somewhere in the race, we'd get some help."

John Velazquez, who rode Ashado, offered no excuses for the 2-1 favorite.

"She ran a great race. The winner just ran a tremendous race today," Velazquez said. "She tried hard the whole time and just got beat for second."