Stanton, DE (SportsNetwork.com) - Belle Gallantey, ridden by Jose Ortiz, set a very slow pace and was able to hold off odds-on favorite Princess of Sylmar to win Saturday's 77th running of the $750,000 Delaware Handicap (Del 'Cap) at Delaware Park.
Princess of Sylmar was sent off as the 1-5 favorite for the 1 1/4-mile Del 'Cap for fillies and mares with Belle Gallantey the 6-1 second pick in the six-horse field.
Trained by Rudy Rodriguez, Belle Gallantey broke from the inside post and immediately took the lead. She proceeded to set the pace with Princess of Sylmar stalking the leader from fourth-place. The first half-mile was covered in 49.51 seconds and six furlongs in 1:13.63.
On the final turn, Belle Gallantey continued on the lead with Flashy American and the favorite to the outside. The pacesetter held sway down the stretch and drove to a 2 3/4-length victory over Princess of Sylmar with Flashy American third.
"The pace set up very well for us today," said winning rider Jose Ortiz. "We just kind of went slow and easy."
Gamay Noir finished fourth followed by Molly Morgan and Bryan's Jewel.
The time for the Del 'Cap was 2:01.15 on a fast track.
"One of my concerns was not having a true pace scenario developing, which is legitimate, but we have no excuses," said Todd Pletcher the trainer of Princess of Sylmar.
Owned by Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stables and Gary Aisquith, Belle Gallantey registered her first stakes victory in her 41st career start. Winning the Del 'Cap was worth $450,000 to more than double the 5-year-old chestnut mare's earnings to $866,270. She has eight lifetime wins with 12 seconds and seven thirds.
Belle Gallantey made her stakes debut last month on Belmont Stakes Day at Belmont Park in the Ogden Phipps Stakes. The 5-year-old finished fifth in the 1 1/16-mile race less than two lengths behind winner Close Hatches and runner- up Princess of Sylmar.
"Last time, in the Ogden Phipps, she showed she belonged with this kind and that made it easy for us to run in the Delaware Handicap," said winning trainer Rodriguez.
Belle Gallantey paid $15.60, $4.20 and $2.80. Princess of Sylmar returned $2.10 and $2.10, and Flashy American paid $3.00 to show.