Updated on 09/17/2011 5:30PM

Stellar Jayne refuses to lose Gazelle

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Stellar Jayne with Robby Albarado riding wins the $250,000 Gazelle Handicap at Belmont Park on Saturday.

ELMONT, N.Y. - The connections of Stellar Jayne knew she had talent. On Saturday, they learned their 3-year-old filly has guts as well.

After surrendering the lead to Daydreaming in upper stretch, Stellar Jayne battled back along the inside under Robby Albarado and drew away from that rival late to post a one-length victory in the $250,000 before 10,251 at Belmont Park. It was 1 3/4 lengths back to He Loves Me, who nosed out Shadow Cast for third.

It was the second Grade 1 victory of the year for Stellar Jayne, who remained in contention for divisional honors along with Ashado and Society Selection. Stellar Jayne, a daughter of Wild Rush, also won the Mother Goose here in June.

Stellar Jayne was able to maintain a clear lead through soft fractions of 24.11 and 48.11 seconds. Approaching the three-sixteenths pole, Daydreaming, under John Velazquez, stuck a head in front. But Stellar Jayne immediately fought back, retaking the lead inside the eighth pole before edging away late. Stellar Jayne, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.25 over a fast track. She returned $3 as the 1-2 favorite.

"She lacks some aggression to her, for whatever reason," Albarado said. "She likes to be abused on. I didn't have to whip her much, two times left-handed, then I hit her right-handed, and she went on about her business. She lets them run to her, and she wants to fight the last eighth of a mile."

Peter Hutton, assistant to Lukas, said he was a bit concerned that Stellar Jayne could be out-sprinted in the stretch by Daydreaming.

"She's got stamina, but this is kind of the first time that she showed a true-grit sprint to the wire," Hutton said. "They're the ones you like to have. When they look beat they're not beat."

Hutton said Stellar Jayne is scheduled to ship to Lukas's Churchill Downs barn on Thursday, and she may simply train up to the Breeders' Cup Distaff at Lone Star on Oct. 30.

The Gazelle field scratched down to six as Capeside Lady, Mambo Bell, and Magical Illusion, second choice on the morning line, were withdrawn. Trainer James Bond said Magical Illusion popped a piece of gravel out of a hind foot on Friday.