Artemis Agrotera wins Belmont's Gallant Bloom

NEW YORK (AP) Artemis Agrotera rallied to beat La Verdad by a head Saturday in the $300,000 Gallant Bloom Handicap for fillies and mares at Belmont Park.

A 3-year-old filly trained by Mike Hushion and ridden by Rajiv Maragh, Artemis Agrotera easily won her two previous races, including the Ballerina Stakes at Saratoga, by a combined 16 3/4 lengths. The Gallant Bloom wasn't decided until the final strides.

Unexpectedly dropping well off the pace in fifth, Artemis Agrotera made the bettors who backed her at 2-5 squirm as La Verdad opened up a huge lead turning for home.

La Verdad appeared home free when she rolled to a six-length lead at the top of the stretch. Artemis Agrotera, racing widest of all, launched a prolonged and determined bid that carried her to a fifth win in seven career starts.

The dramatic victory enhanced her standing as one of the top distaff sprinters in the nation.

Artemis Agrotera ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.49 on the fast track and paid $2.80, $2.10 and $2.10. La Verdad returned $4.10 and $2.70, and Willet paid $2.30 to show.

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