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Swing The Belle cruises to OHBPA victory


April 1, 2005     E-mail this page to a friend!

Swing The Belle in OHBPA Invitational
(photo by reed palmer photography )
By Partick Kerrison

Breaking alertly and rushed to the front, Swing The Belle ran true to her form in the $6,000 Oregon HBPA Invitational Handicap Sunday, March 20. Setting early fractions of :22 4/5 and :45 4/5, the four-year-old chestnut daughter of Swing and Miss by Circle Belle simply toyed with her five other competitors. By the time she and rider Shawna Barber hit the five-sixteenths pole, they drew clear by three.

"She looked as good as ever today," said trainer Jonathan Nance. "There's no doubt the rain today helped because the track was definitely to her liking. She loves an off track and proved it again today."

Under a hand ride and shown the stick late simply to keep her mind on her business, Swing the Belle completed the six furlong test in 1:12 2/5. She was two-and-a-half lengths in front at the wire, besting Quiz the Maid.

"She was one hell of a claim," Nance continued. He ain't kiddin'.

Since being claimed, Swing the Belle has earned better than $13,000 in winning five races in seven starts by a total of 15 lengths. She has run two seconds in her only losses since moving into Nance's place. He got her for $3,200.

"Since we got her we have been able to move her up and reap the rewards along the way. I wish I could be this fortunate with every horse I claim, Nance said.

Quiz the Maid, arguably the best filly racing at Portland Meadows this season, rolled in her last outing - the Sweetheart Handicap. In the Oregon HBPA Invitational, she settled early and maintained a fair distance behind the leaders. In the stretch, she and Javier Ortega raced off the rail, hitting her best stride late as she usually does. However, despite her valiant efforts and finishing well, it wasn't nearly enough to catch the winner.

Earlier in the afternoon Nance scored with Big Al T, bringing his meet win total to 39, one behind leader Jim Fergason.