With a bold move in mid-stretch, 4-year-old Pianist cleared off to a two-length victory in the $200,000 Athenia S. (G3) at Belmont Park, the third stakes win of the year for the son of More Than Ready, who is on the verge of breaking into the top 10 on the 2013 General Sire list.
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Pianist settled in second, no more than a length off Assateague as she led the field of seven turf fillies and mares through the first six furlongs in 1:10.10. Pianist assumed command at the top of the lane and dug in through the final furlong to cross under the wire two lengths in a swift 1:39.94 for the 1 1/16-miles on the firm turf.
"She didn't break the way I wanted her to because my plan was to go to the front, so I made my move outside (on the final turn)," said jockey Jose Ortiz. "The last time (Pianist) ran, she did pretty good as she finished second (in the Grade 2 Ballston Spa S.) to Laughing, who is going to the Breeders' Cup. I tried to ride the same race, and everything went the right way."
Pianist earned $120,000 for the win, boosting her bankroll to $498,450 for Hidden Brook Farm and Dan Zucker. Overall, she is 6-2-2 from 13 career starts. She was a $100,000 auction purchase at the 2010 Keeneland September Yearling sale.