06/13/2008 11:00PM

Unbridled Belle romps in Obeah


Unbridled Belle reaffirmed her affinity for Delaware Park on Saturday, and stamped herself ready to defend her title in next month's $1omillion Delaware Handicap by romping to a 5 3/4-length victory in the Grade 3, $150,600 Obeah Stakes.

The 5-year-old Unbridled Belle ($3.40) usually comes from off the pace. But making her first start since finishing fifth in last October's Breeders' Cup Distaff, she was sent to the front in the 1 1/8-mile Obeah by jockey Ramon Dominguez. After a half-mile in 48.15 seconds and six furlongs in 1:11.81, Unbridled Belle opened up in the stretch was ridden out while completing the nine furlongs in 1:49.72.

"She came away pretty sharp and basically took the lead under her own terms," Dominguez said. "I really was not worried about her making the lead because she did it within herself. Turning for home, I took a quick peek back and she was well clear."

Trainer Todd Pletcher is expected to bring Unbridled Bell back to Delaware, where she is 4 for 5 lifetime, for the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap on July 13.

Copper State, who chased Unbridled Belle throughout the race, outfinished 5-2 second choice Lemon Drop Mom by a head for second.

Susan's Girl: Weathered surprises

Weathered ($26.20), a New York-bred filly who began her career running for a $35,000 claiming tag, capitalized on slow early fractions to wire five rivals in the $160,300 Susan's Girl Stakes.

The 1 1/16-mile Susan's Girl serves as a prep for 3-year-old fillies pointing to the Grade 2, $500,000 Delaware Oaks on July 12.

Ridden for the first time by Rosie Napravnik, Weathered set a comfortable pace of 25.32, 50.16, and 1:13.86. Napravnik saved a lot of her mount's energy for the finish and Weathered drew clear by 4 1/2 lengths, completing the distance in 1:44.60. African Violet, the 8-5 favorite, held off the previously unbeaten Never Retreat, the 2-1 second choice, by a head for second.

It was the sixth win in eight starts for Weathered, who is based at Suffolk Downs with trainer Karl Grusmark.