by Keith McCalmont
Klein Racing's Break Even continued her winning ways with a gate-to-wire score in Sunday's $150,000 Jersey Girl at Belmont Park.
Trained by Brad Cox and piloted by Shaun Bridgmohan, the dark bay daughter of Country Day arrived at the six-furlong sprint for sophomore fillies from a dominant 5 1/2-length victory in the Grade 2 Eight Belles at Churchill Downs.
Despite bobbling at the start, Bridgmohan was able to gather up Break Even and take command marking the quarter-mile in 22.06 seconds and the half-mile in 44.63 with Miss Imperial and Moonlight Romance tracking her early foot.
Sue's Fortune, a half-length winner of the Grade 2 Adirondack at Saratoga Race Course in her second career start, was fourth, and last, at the half-mile call under Junior Alvarado, but gained steadily late in the turn.
Break Even opened up by three lengths at the top of the stretch with Sue's Fortune taking dead aim at the pacesetter falling just three-quarters of a length short at the finish. Break Even covered six furlongs in 1:09.20 over the fast main track. Miss Imperial and Moonlight Romance completed the order of finish. Bingwa was scratched.
Bridgmohan, aboard for four of the filly's five career wins, gave all the credit to the streaking Break Even, who maintained her perfect career record.
"I was just a passenger. I kept her in the clear, kept her out of trouble and stayed out of her way," said Bridgmohan.
The victory completed a successful New York weekend for Cox, whose trainees Beau Recall, second in the Grade 1 Longines Just a Game, and Arklow, second in the Grade 2 Belmont Gold Cup Invitational, performed admirably during the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival.
The veteran conditioner was on hand to saddle Break Even, who will now be pointed to the Grade 1, $500,000 Longines Test, a seven-furlong sprint for sophomore fillies slated for August 3 at Saratoga.
"It was a positive race and hopefully a building block towards the Test at Saratoga," said Cox. "I didn't train her real aggressive leading up to this. I thought it made sense to get one into her, with the Test being the goal. We'll take her back home and train her up to the Test."
Alvarado, who has guided Sue's Fortune to all three of her career wins, was heartened by the bay's determined stretch run.
"I thought she ran a great race. We broke very sharp and the first few steps I rode her just to make sure the favorite [Break Even] had to use his filly a little bit more," said Alvarado. "I was very confident she would finish and that's what we did. When we made our move, she was there for me but we just fell a little bit short. She's a very nice filly and she tried her heart out today."
Break Even, bred in Kentucky by Richard and Bert Klein, banked $82,500 in victory. She returned $2.40 for a $2 win ticket.
Live racing returns on Wednesday at Belmont Park with a nine-race card. First post time is 1:30 p.m.