Augustin Strong’s Xenobia unfolded a lead via the half-mile mark and repelled a overdue price from Candy Bye and Bye within the rain to submit a 1 ½-length victory in Sunday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Athenia for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up at Belmont Park.

A bunch stakes winner in her local Eire, Xenobia registered her first North American win in 3 begins in a a hit graded stakes debut, staying off the lead early as 45-1 Sweet Retailer led the eight-horse box thru a gap quarter-mile in 23.67 seconds on interior turf classified company.

Xenobia, guided from the out of doors submit via beneath Corridor of Status jockey John Velazquez, was once recommended up and took command, with a half-mile getting in 47.46 and endured to realize separation, opening a six-length lead with three-quarters in 1:10.85.

Velazquez stored Xenobia beneath a pressure within the stretch as Candy Bye and Bye and Andina Del Sur made overdue bids from the out of doors. The 5-year-old Falco mare finished 1 1/16 miles in a 1:41.21 ultimate time, incomes her first win beneath the care of instructor Jonathan Thomas.

“We had been hoping he [Velazquez] would pass forward and be competitive,” Thomas mentioned. “Assertive is almost certainly the correct phrase. She’s a large, galloping filly and I believed the rain would in point of fact assist us these days as a result of she likes somewhat lower within the floor. It was once a lovely experience. His experience into the primary flip was once a masterpiece. That is the place I feel he received the race.”

Off at 7-1, Xenobia returned $16.40 on a $2 win bet. She stepped forward her occupation bankroll to $246,606. The winner of the Crew Three Brownstown in July 2018 at Fairyhouse Racecourse received 4 of her first 10 begins in Europe earlier than transport around the Atlantic, beginning her North American occupation with a fourth-place end in opposition to allowance corporate on June 23 at Belmont earlier than operating 2d to Scottish Jig in a 1 1/8-mile turf direction on September 15 at the similar observe.

With Velazquez at the name for the primary time, Xenobia posted her first win in additional than 15 months.

“She were given to the lead and put her ears up,” Velazquez mentioned. “They had been coming at her however she was once operating on the similar time, so I used to be relaxed that she was once a minimum of completing. Speaking to Jonathan, he concept she almost certainly wanted her remaining race. That helped her stepping as much as this race and it labored out easiest. I simply came about to get to her on the proper time.”

Candy Bye and Bye, skilled via Steve Klesaris, edged Andina Del Sur via a half of size for runner-up honors.

“She broke rather well,” mentioned Candy Bye and Bye jockey Jose Ortiz. “On the half-mile pole, I sought after to get going nevertheless it was once exhausting within the cushy floor. I needed to wait somewhat later than I sought after, however no excuses. The winner was once superb these days.”

Victorine, 8-Five favourite Merely Breathless, Sweet Retailer, Matty’s Magnum and Pepper Sprout finished the order of end. Arabella Bella was once scratched.

The general week of the Belmont fall meet will get started Wednesday with an eight-race card. First submit is 1:15 p.m. Jap.

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