10/03/2009 12:00AM

Soft turf can't stop Pure Clan

Email

ELMONT, N.Y. - Her connections may have been leery of the soft Belmont Park turf course, but Pure Clan handled it just fine, thank you, running past Criticism inside the sixteenth pole to win Saturday's by 2 3/4 lengths.

Criticism, who stalked the pace-setting Leamington until the eighth pole, held second by 1 1/4 lengths over Queen of Hearts. She was followed in the order of finish by Moneycantbuymelove, Leamington, Dynaforce, and Beauty O'Gwaun. Carribean Sunset was scratched.

Though Pure Clan had run well over a yielding Belmont turf course last year when she was a hard-charging second in the Grade 1 Garden City Breeders' Cup, owner Lewis Lakin and trainer Bob Holthus considered scratching Pure Clan from the Flower Bowl because it came up soft. But since the rain came only an hour before the race, they opted to stay in.

"I'm glad we stayed in and I'm glad it's over with," Holthus said. "Julien [Leparoux] had confidence she'd run all right."

Under Leparoux, Pure Clan settled into fifth place early, but only about four lengths off a pedestrian pace caused by the soaking rains that began 90 minutes before post. Leamington, under Edgar Prado, set fractions of 26.81 seconds, 53.81, and 1:20.63 for six furlongs, stalked by Criticism.

Criticism, under Javier Castellano, tackled Leamington at the quarter pole, while Leparoux made a three-wide move with Pure Clan to get closer turning for home. Criticism took over from Leamington at the eighth pole, but Pure Clan went past Criticism inside the sixteenth pole.

"The turf course was really soft and she had to work hard at it in the stretch," Leparoux said. "Still, she got the job done."

Pure Clan, a 4-year-old daughter of Pure Prize, covered the 1 1/4 miles in 2:12.43 over the soft inner turf course and returned $7.20.

"She showed more speed today than normal," Holthus said. "She broke well and she was in the race the whole way."

Lakin and Holthus said they would discuss the possibility of running in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf next month at Santa Anita. Pure Clan finished last in the race in 2008 when it was also at Santa Anita.

Criticism bounced back from a ninth-place finish in the Diana at Saratoga with a solid effort that has her connections strongly considering a run in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

"We're definitely going to consider taking her to the Breeders' Cup," said Tom Albertrani, who trains Criticism for Darley Stable. "We were really pleased with her run today."

Bill Mott, the trainer of 2-1 favorite and defending Flower Bowl winner Dynaforce, said his mare lost a shoe around the far turn and jockey Kent Desormeaux told him "she came out of the bridle at that point."