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2008 Gallant Bloom Handicap


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Indian Blessing wins the 2008 Gallant Bloom Handicap
Indian Blessing wins the 2008 Gallant Bloom Handicap

Indian Blessing wins the 2008 Gallant Bloom Handicap at Belmont Park

© Vanessa Ng
September 20, 2008

A compact field of five older fillies and mares were originally entered in Saturday's $150,000 Gallant Bloom Handicap (G2) at Belmont Park, but after Sugar Swirl scratched, just four entered the starting gate in this 6 1/2 length main track sprint. 2007 champion juvenile filly Indian Blessing was sent off as the 2-5 favorite over undefeated 3-1 second choice Elope, making her stakes debut, and 8-1 third choice Zada belle, winner of the Bennington. Porte Bonheur, winner of both the Flanders and Victory Ride, completed the field at 11-1.

Zada Belle and Indian Blessing hooked up soon after the start, with Zada Belle getting the initial quarter in 22.70 before the champion, under new jockey Corey Nakatani, took over after half a mile in 45.09 over the fast main track. Elope stalked them in third early. Zada Belle tired on the turn to eventually finish last, allowing Indian Blessing to open a 3 length advantage on Elope in midstretch. Indian Blessing drew away in the final furling to cruise under the line 6 1/4 lengths in front, completing the 6 1/2 furlong trip in 1:16.24. It was another 5 lengths back to Porte Bonheur third, and 1 1/4 more to Zada Belle last.

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