Updated on 09/17/2011 11:32PM

Turfway: Ella Belle an easy winner

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Pat Lang
Ella Belle wins the $50,000 Wintergreen Stakes at Turfway Park on Saturday.

These are heady times for Buff Bradley. Two weeks before the veteran trainer will run Brass Hat in the most important race of his training career, Bradley saddled Ella Belle for a surprisingly easy front-running victory in the $50,000 Wintergreen Stakes at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky.

Ella Belle was ridden by Willie Martinez, who will be aboard March 25 when Brass Hat runs n the $6 million Dubai World Cup. After breaking sharply from post 3 in a field of nine fillies and mares, Ella Belle secured command into the first turn of the one-mile Wintergreen

and was never seriously challenged thereafter, prevailing by 5 3/4 lengths and returning $11.80 to win. The winning time was 1:38.57 over Polytrack.

Cercatore used a steady run to finish second, another two lengths before Quite a Ruckus. Darling Daughter, the 2-1 second choice, was fourth, while Cat Quatorze, the 2-1 favorite, was seventh. Plumlake Lady and unbeaten Listen were early scratches.

Ella Belle, a 4-year-old filly by Elnadim, is owned by a partnership that includes B.T. Westerfield. A Kentucky-bred filly, Ella Belle had won 3 of 12 previous starts, including a romp in a second-level allowance on Feb. 25, a race that was her first around two turns.

Brass Hat was scheduled to work five furlongs Sunday or Monday at Turfway before departing late Monday for Miami, from where he will be flown to Dubai. The 5-year-old gelding has become one of the top North American handicap runners after easy wins in the New Orleans and Donn handicaps.