09/19/2010 6:50PM

Strike the Bell saves best for last in Noble Damsel


ELMONT, N.Y. - A fast pace, a fair-playing turf course, and a patient ride from Ramon Dominguez combined to make Strike the Bell a 1 1/4-length winner of Sunday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Noble Damsel Stakes at Belmont Park.

Allowed to settle in last early by Dominguez, Strike the Bell split horses around the turn, swung four wide into the stretch, then powered past pace-setting C.S. Silk inside the eighth pole while outkicking Quiet Meadow to record the victory. Quiet Meadow, second in this race last year, was second by one length over Scolara. Chestoria, Sweeter Still, C.S. Silk, Kristi With a K, and Meriwether Jessica completed the order of finish.

The victory was the fourth from 16 career starts but first in a stakes for Strike the Bell, a 4-year-old daughter of Mizzen Mast owned by Rising Star Stables and trained by David Donk.

"She’s been second in stakes three times, and I knew today was an important one because it’s graded," Donk said. "It’s a nice one to get out of the way. I hope that she’s around another year and could be a pretty serious filly."

Dominguez, who won Saturday’s Grade 1 Garden City from last aboard Check the Label, said he felt confident after the first quarter of a mile.

"She fell into the bridle nicely and I could tell we were going to have a good run," said Dominguez, who won three races on the card. "When I started to angle out and pass horses, I could feel that I wasn’t going to have to go to the whip because she was rolling. I could see on the big screen that they were behind me and trying to pressure me, but I felt like we were home free."

Strike the Bell covered one mile over a good Widener turf course in 1:34.58 and returned $10.80 to win.

Earlier on the card, Whatsthescript, under John Velazquez, held off Wesley by a neck to win the $60,000 Keep the Promise Stakes at 1 1/16 miles. Whatsthescript, a 6-year-old son of Royal Applause, won for the first time since taking the Grade 2 Del Mar Mile on Aug. 24, 2008.
Whatsthescript, owned by Tom Stull and trained by Gary Contessa, covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.21 and returned $8.60 to win.