By Najja Thompson —-
ELMONT, N.Y. – Making only her third career start and stakes debut, Don Alberto Stables’ Rubilinda closed with a furious finish to best a field of seven to win the $100,000 Christiecat for 3-year-old fillies on Friday, opening day of the Fall Championship meet at Belmont Park.
Breaking from post 4 as the 4-5 post-time favorite with Jose Ortiz aboard, Rubilinda settled in last as Smiling Causeway set fractions of 22.48 seconds for the opening quarter-mile with the half going in 45.54. At the quarter-pole, Smiling Causeway remained in front as Rubilinda was tipped out six-wide. Hustled up in the final turn, Rubilinda under a full drive began to pick off her foes meeting Smiling Causeway in late stretch drawing away in the final strides to earn the victory by a half-length.
She completed the six-furlong distance in a final time of 1:08.69 over a firm Widener Turf Course.
“She has a great kick from the quarter pole home,” said Ortiz. “She broke good today, not like her debut, that day she broke bad, so I took her back a little bit in the early stages and let her do her thing in the clear in the stretch.”
Returning $3.70 for a $2 win wager the home bred Frankel filly boosted her career earnings to $120,400 while picking up her second victory at the distance at Belmont.
“She relaxes when going six furlongs,” added Ortiz. “We have to see what she does when she goes a mile or a little farther because she is kind of strong, but going six furlongs when they go that fast [22.48 seconds], it is kind of easy.”
“She ran very, very well,” said Cherie DeVaux, assistant to winning trainer Chad Brown. “She had pace to close into and she made up a lot of ground. She’s always been real straight forward, a very classy filly and progressed really nicely. Chad left it up to Jose in how he wanted to ride her and he did a terrific job.”
Following Smiling Causeway in second was Adoborable Miss, Epping Forest, Heavenly Score, Riley’s Choice, Boos, Noble Freud and Tickled Pink completing the order of finish.