05/27/2005 11:00PM

Victory Lap best in Chapel Belle Stakes


Victory Lap, rallying strongly under Gerard Melancon after encountering traffic problems in the final turn, extended her winning streak to four races in the Chapel Belle Stakes at Louisiana Downs on Saturday afternoon.

Miriam L. finished second, a half-length behind the winner, and three-quarters of a length ahead of the game pacesetter, Phone Affair.

In making her second start for leading trainer Cole Norman and her first locally, Victory Lap ($4.20) made her first stakes try a winning one after quickly getting through her conditions at Gulfstream Park and Lone Star earlier this spring. Victory Lap is a 3-year-old daughter of Touch Gold who is owned by Turf Express. The win was her fourth, all on turf, in 11 starts. She covered the mile in 1:38.87 over firm going.

"I was stuck on the inside," said Melancon of his adventure turning for home. "I bided my time, waited and waited for something to open and finally at the eighth pole it did. She gave me everything I wanted. I tapped her on the shoulder and she accelerated."