Ivy Bell wins the Inside Information Stakes at Gulfstream Park
Coglianese Photos/Lauren King
A stumble at the start and heavy traffic late did nothing to deter Ivy Bell March 17 at Gulfstream Park, as the Archarcharch mare overcame with a late-closing victory in the $200,000 Inside Information Stakes (G2).
Making her first start for Mathis Stable, Madaket Stable, and trainer Todd Pletcher, the 5-year-old dark bay mare earned her first graded stakes score in her first try at the grade 2 level.
"We felt confident coming in. She had been training well," Pletcher said. "She's had a little history of some quirks around the gate and the paddock. I'm glad she behaved well today. She still broke a little bit on her nose, but she recovered quickly and found a good spot and delivered from there."
Ivy Bell, who finished first or second in six of her last seven races for her former connections, stumbled out of the gate from her rail post position but was well within range of a pace contested by Rich Mommy, Moonlit Promise, and Mines and Magic.
Those three raced three deep along the backstretch and into the far turn through fractions of :23.63 and :47:03. Jordan's Henny, who captured the Hurricane Bertie Stakes (G3) last time out, joined the fray four wide leaving the turn into the stretch as Javier Castellano waited for room aboard the Pletcher trainee. When a hole failed to open in the wall of horses, Castellano swung Ivy Bell five wide at the eighth-pole, and the veteran mare kicked in powerfully past Jordan's Henny to win by a length as the even-money favorite.
"I was just worried that she found the seam too late. That was a pretty impressive turn of foot she turned in the last eighth of a mile," Pletcher said. "That's not always easy to do at Gulfstream, to make up that much ground the last part of the race."
"I had a perfect trip. That's what I was looking for," Castellano said. "I saved all the ground, I tipped outside. I was kind of concerned a little because everyone hooked up in the same spot, but I had so much confidence. I really liked the way she worked and the way she finished. I felt comfortable the way she did it. Todd did a phenomenal job, and I know she's going to move forward. I rode with a lot of patience and had good results today."
The final time was 1:23.29 on a fast track. Jordan's Henny held for second, a neck ahead of a game Mines and Magic.
Ivy Bell, bred in Kentucky by T/C Stable out of the Forest Wildcat mare Fallseed, notched her fifth win and 12th in-the-money finish in 16 starts. She has sprinted exclusively during her career, but Pletcher said a stretch-out in distance is a possibility.
"We have a couple options. We'll see how things go. There's a seven-furlong grade 1 at Churchill, and there's also a mile and a sixteenth race there as well. She's always run well at Churchill in the past. That's an option," Pletcher said. "She's impressed us in her training that she can run further than seven furlongs."