Awesome Maria wins Belmont’s Odgen Phipps



NEW YORK (AP) — Awesome Maria took advantage of the absence of Unrivaled Belle to easily win the $245,000 Ogden Phipps Handicap for fillies and mares on Saturday at Belmont Park.

Unrivaled Belle, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic in November, reared and flipped over in the paddock prior to the race. She sustained a career-ending injury and was retired.

With a key rival unexpectedly removed, Awesome Maria pulled away to a 3-length win over Payton d’Oro. John Velazquez was aboard as the 4-year-old captured a fourth straight stakes, improving to 7 for 12. Besides training the winner, Todd Pletcher also sent out Super Espresso and Life At Ten, the third and fourth-place finishers, respectively.

The time was 1:41.40 for 1 1-16 miles.

The 3-5 favorite, Awesome Maria paid $3.30, $2.40 and $2.10. Payton d’Oro returned $4.10 and $2.90. Super Espresso paid $2.80 to show.