TORONTO, September 2 – Gamble’s Ghost mounted a late bid to come from last at the three-quarter mark to take the $100,000 Belle Mahone Stakes on Saturday afternoon at Woodbine Racetrack.
The 1-1/16 miles stakes for fillies and mares three years old and up was the first of two six-figure Saturday features on the long weekend program.
Luis Contreras worked out the winning trip aboard the four-year-old Ghostzapper-Gambling Girl filly for trainer Josie Carroll and owner Ivan Dalos.
Gamble’s Ghost and Contreras followed in fifth-place along the rail early on tracking 3-2 favourite Ice Festival (David Moran) while Cced (Eurico Rosa Da Silva) led the way through opening fractions of :25.08 and :50.33. After racing just outside of the leader, 22-1 longshot Silver Sidney (Slade Callaghan) took over command nearing three-quarters in 1:15.20 and the backfield began to fan out wide turning for home. Meanwhile, Gamble’s Ghost was shuffled to the back of the six-horse field by the third quarter mark and staged a rally outside for a clear path in the stretch. She then downed Silver Sidney in the straightaway and drew off to a two and a quarter length victory in 1:44.83. Silver Sidney held on for second-place as Ice Festival closed inside for third.
After the race, Carroll praised Contreras’s smart move aboard the filly to get her in a position to win.
“This filly does have a propensity for trouble, so if you find yourself in trouble, just make sure you get her clear,” said Carroll. “I could see he was stalking the one horse there and it didn’t look like it was going to open and he sacrificed a little bit of ground to get her out and did a very, very nice job with her.”
Gamble’s Ghost paid $6.10, $4.20 and $2.50 as the 2-1 second choice in the wagering following a fifth-place finish in the Grade 2 Dance Smartly Stakes contested on July 2 over 1-1/4 miles on the turf. She was successful for the second time in three starts this year returning to the Tapeta track where she was victorious on June 9 as well as in her past graded stakes wins.
“It was really simple with this filly,” said Contreras. “She likes to break and sit and relax and just see how the pace goes and go from there.
“I think she can run on the grass too, but she had a real bad experience on the trips… She seems like she loves the synthetic.”
Gamble’s Ghost earned her fifth career win from 13 starts and pushed her bankroll over $460,000. The multiple graded stakes winner was bred in Ontario by Tall Oaks Farm.
“She always has been a nice horse,” said Dalos. “I try to breed good horses, as you know, and some of them turn out better than others, but I’ve been very fortunate to have nice fillies and I’ve got a couple of nice ones now on the ground and we just keep on trying.”
Gamble’s Ghost combined with Silver Sidney ($16.40, $4.20) for a 3-5 exactor worth $71. A 3-5-1 triactor (Ice Festival, $2.10) paid $84.20 and a $1 superfecta of 3-5-1-4 (Midnight Crossing) returned $289.25. Cced and Uchenna completed the order of finish.