The margin was tighter this time around, but the result was still the same for Off Limits, who registered her second straight graded stakes win of the Belmont fall meet on Saturday in the $200,000 Athenia (G3).
Sent off the 4-5 favorite in the field of 10 fillies and mares off an impressive 4 3/4-length tally in the Noble Damsel (G3), Off Limits seized control from long-time leader Juno approaching the eighth pole and dug in over the rallying My Impression to win by a neck under Joel Rosario.
Owned by Martin Schwartz and trained by Chad Brown, Off Limits returned $3.90 after completing 1 1/16 miles on the firm Widener turf in 1:41.73.
“The pace was kind of slow so it was just about timing the right move to go to the front,” said Rosario, noting fractions of :24.52, :48.79, and 1:12.73. “You can see when she goes to the lead she likes to wait for horses. When you ride a horse for the second time, you learn a little bit more and it was a different race from the last time, but I was confident she was the best horse in here today. She was very relaxed and handled the distance with no problem.”
My Impression was a length clear of Elysea’s World, who nosed out Penjade for third. The latter two are also trained by Brown. The order of finish was rounded out by Time and Motion, Puca, Westit, Decked Out, Queen Caroline, and Juno.
A stakes winner in Ireland at three in 2015, Off Limits went unplaced in her first four U.S. appearances in 2016. She has now won four of six with two seconds, including a narrow loss in the $100,000 Perfect Sting back in July.
“We gave her time off and Mr. Schwartz purchased this filly and gave it to me and we got in a groove with her,” Brown said. “She never quite looked right in her coat. She trained a little better than she was running, and it was frustrating. We got together and decided to give her an extended vacation and let her acclimate over here. He is always very patient with his horses and does the right thing with them, and she’s the perfect example of that.”
Bred in Ireland by the Carlingford Breeding Syndicate, Off Limits is by Mastercraftsman and out of Ravish, by Efisio. A half-sister to the stakes-placed Seinellanima, she’s from the family of multiple Grade 1 winner Awe Inspiring.
Off Limits has now earned $454,680 from a line of 16-6-2-1.