11/26/2016 1:58PM

Verve's Tale shows she's on winning path in Comely Stakes

Michael Amoruso
Verve's Tale, who notched her first win just six weeks ago, wins the Comely Stakes on Saturday at Aqueduct.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - It took Verve’s Tale a long time to win her first race. It took far less time to win her second.

Verve’s Tale, who just six weeks ago won a maiden race at Keeneland, reeled in seemingly home-free favorite Lewis Bay in deep stretch to win Saturday’s Grade 3 $250,000 Comely Stakes for 3-year-old fillies by a neck at Aqueduct.

Lewis Bay, the 3-5 favorite, finished second by 3 3/4 lengths over Going for Broke as Chad Brown trainees finished second and third. Flora Dora finished fourth followed by Mo d’Amour, Unbridled Mo and Big Mara.

Paco Lopez rode the winner for owner Charles Fipke and trainer Barclay Tagg.

Verve’s Tale had run second in five of her first seven starts before overcoming trouble to win a 1 1/16-mile maiden affair by 2 3/4 lengths at Keeneland on Oct. 16.

In the Comely, Verve’s Tale raced a close-up fourth as Mo d’Amour set fractions of 23.92 seconds for the quarter and 48.47 for the half. A stalking Lewis Bay, under Irad Ortiz Jr., took the lead at the three-eighths pole and Verve’s Tale followed that move.

Lewis Bay opened a seemingly safe advantage in mid-stretch, but she began to weaken late. Verve’s Tale kept on coming and got up in the final three strides.

“I followed [Lewis Bay] until the eighth pole and she took me out a little bit,” Lopez said. “My filly is very nice filly and she tried really hard. I rode the best filly in the race.”

Verve’s Tale, a daughter of Tale of Ekati and a full sister to 2015 Preakness runner-up Tale of Verve, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:51.89 and returned $43.60.

“It’s taken a long time, but she’s turned into a real machine now,” Tagg said.

Verve’s Tale will head to south Florida on Tuesday and point to a 4-year-old campaign.

Ortiz said he had no excuse for Lewis Bay, who had been a two-time graded stakes winner going 1 1/8 miles at Aqueduct.
“When she makes the lead she’s not the type that opens up,” Ortiz said. “I tried to hold her as long as I could, then I said we got to go. No excuse, we just got beat.”