Belvoir Bay, with Enola Gray scratched, breezes to Torrey Pines triumph

DEL MAR, Calif. – In two starts at Del Mar this summer, Belvoir Bay had a race to forget and one to remember.

Belvoir Bay finished last of 10 in the Grade 2 San Clemente Handicap on turf July 23, a disappointing performance until trainer Peter Miller and his team evaluated the filly after the race.

“She had a cut in her mouth that we missed,” Miller said. “Her last race was a complete throw-out.”

Belvoir Bay faced no such issues in Sunday’s $100,000 Torrey Pines Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at a mile on dirt. Leading throughout, Belvoir Bay ($17.60) prevailed by 1 1/4 lengths over 7-10 favorite Bellamentary to win her second stakes. Belvoir Bay won the minor Blue Norther Stakes on turf at Santa Anita last December.

Her appearance in Sunday’s race nearly did not happen. Miller said he planned to scratch Belvoir Bay on Sunday morning – until he was told by Del Mar racing officials that the unbeaten Enola Gray had already scratched. Enola Gray, who was 4-5 on the morning-line, was withdrawn because of illness, trainer Phil D’Amato said on Sunday morning.

“Enola Gray looked unbeatable to me,” Miller said.

With that news, Miller opted to keep Belvoir Bay in the race.

Ridden by Norberto Arroyo Jr., Belvoir Bay led by a half-length after an opening quarter-mile in 23.63 seconds and by a head over Bellamentary after a half-mile in 47.03. Bellamentary could not get closer. Belvoir Bay led by two lengths at the eighth pole and held a comfortable advantage over her rival through the final furlong.

Belvoir Bay was timed in 1:36.56.

“I feel like she’d run well,” Miller said. “We switched bits on her and did a few things differently.”

She’s a Warrior finished third, followed by Nine Point Nine and Kay Kay. Aside from Enola Gray, Dreamarcher and Uptown Twirl were also withdrawn.

Belvoir Bay races for Gary Barber and the Team Valor International racing partnership. A filly by Equiano, Belvoir Bay began her career in Britain last year, where she won two minor races.

Belvoir Bay has won 4 of 9 starts and has earned $149,176. Miller said stakes on dirt and turf will be considered this fall.

Tom Franklin is a senior contributor at US Racing.
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