Belvoir Bay and jockey Noberto Arroyo, Jr. win the Grade III, $ 100,000 Torrey Pines Stakes
English-bred Belvoir Bay, piloted by the red-hot Norberto Arroyo, Jr., grabbed the lead from the gate and never relinquished it in scoring a wire-to-wire triumph in the featured Grade III $ 100,000 Torrey Pines Stakes for three-year-old fillies Sunday.
“First, I want to thank God, always,” said Arroyo. “We were going to lay back a little bit, but she broke so well that I just let her go on with it. I worked her twice recently and the last time she was really impressive. She ran to that work today. I know Peter (trainer Miller) was thinking about scratching her today. But he didn’t, thank goodness. He made the right decision and it worked out great.”
Belvoir Bay, withdrawn from Friday’s Shared Belief Stakes versus males to run in the Torrey Pines, shook off the challenge of the 3-5 favored Bellamentary entering the stretch and continued on gamely to the wire to score by a length and one-quarter. Bellamentary held second by two lengths over She’s a Warrior, with Nine Point Nine another five lengths back in fourth. Kay Kay completed the line-up in fifth and last.
Pre-race favorite Enola Gray was scratched Sunday morning because of a respiratory problem. Also withdrawn were Uptown Twirl and Dreamarcher.
Belvoir Bay, a daughter of Equiano owned by Team Valor International and Gary Barber and trained by Peter Miller, accomplished the mile on the main track in 1:36.56 to earn first prize of $ 60,000 with her fourth win in nine career outings. The Torrey Pines marked the filly’s initial race over a dirt surface after competing exclusively on grass previously. She won the Blue Norther Stakes at Santa Anita last December on turf.
“I was going to scratch her this morning,” said Miller. “I thought Enola Gray was unbeatable. I called the racing office and Chris (Stakes Coordinator Chris Merz) said, ‘You know we’ve got three scratches’ and I said, ‘What three?’ And when he said Enola Gray, that was enough. Her (Belvoir Bay) last race was a complete throw out. I felt good that she would run well today, but I didn’t know she’d run this well. She kind of caught a flier leaving the gate and the other speed (Nine Point Nine) got left. It couldn’t have worked out better, especially to win with Norberto (Arroyo Jr.) I’ve been a big supporter since he’s come back.”
Sent postward at 7-1, Belvoir Bay paid $ 17.60, $ 4.80 and $ 3.20 and gave Del Mar newcomer Arroyo his sixth win in the last three racing days. He also won three races last Friday. Bellamentary, deputizing for her ailing stablemate, Enola Gray, returned $ 2.60 and $ 2.10, while She’s a Warrior paid $ 2.40 to show.
Arroyo’s earlier winners Sunday were Salsita at $ 6.80 in the third and Vai at $ 18 in the seventh.
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