05/14/2016 5:35PM

Strike Charmer bides her time, rallies in Grade 3 Beaugay

Michael Amoruso
Strike Charmer becomes a Grade 3 winner for the second time in her career, taking the Beaugay at Belmont Park Saturday.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Strike Charmer just keeps getting better with age.

The 6-year-old Strike Charmer turned in arguably the best performance of her career Saturday at Belmont Park, rallying from off a rapid pace to a decisive  2 1/4-length triumph over Tapitry in the $150,000 Beaugay. Strike Charmer became a Grade 3 winner for the second time in her career. She also won the Cardinal Handicap at Churchill Downs in November 2014.

Strike Charmer reunited with jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. in the Beaugay for the first time since the pair teamed up to capture an allowance race last November at Aqueduct. That also marked the first time Strike Charmer was saddled by Mark Hennig, who had taken over the training for the daughter of Smart Strike several months earlier.

Strike Charmer was about eight lengths off the swift pace set by a rank My Miss Sophia, who flew through an opening quarter and half-mile in 23.29 and 46.01. Strike Charmer saved ground into the stretch, eased out to continue her bid once settling for the drive, and readily ran past Tapitry inside the eighth pole to win going away.

Tapitry attended the early pace, quickly overtook the leader once settling into the stretch, but proved no match for the winner while holding off a late running Recepta to finish second. The latter took up sharply along the inside after clipping heels with Ball Dancing in the opening furlong, raced well back, rallying belatedly while never menacing the winner.

My Miss Sophia, the tepid 9-5 favorite making her first start since October, weakened steadily once entering the stretch, finished a tiring fourth in a field of eight older fillies and mares.

Strike Charmer, who is owned by Donald and Donna Adam's Courtlandt Farms, completed a mile and one sixteenth over a firm course in 1:39.22 and paid $20.

Hennig said he loved seeing the quick pace, but was worried, midway through the race, that his horse might not be firing today.

"I was happy when I saw the fractions, last time she was further back on a softer pace," said Hennig. "But honestly, I thought midway on the turn, it looked like she was going the wrong way. But she really kicked well and put in a really strong finish."

Hennig said he feels Strike Charmer may be as good as she's ever been at the moment.

"She looks like a filly who, at six, is coming the right way," said Hennig. "I wasn’t happy with her coat this winter, the farm manager told me she’s always been a filly who never had a good coat. Now she does. We've made some changes with her, shoeing wise and such, maybe that’s been the difference. She’s just a happy horse right now."