Atras dropped the claim for the the 4-year-old daughter of Vancouver for $62,500 out of a Dec. 19 allowance optional claiming race at Aqueduct, where the filly was beaten a neck for second by next-out stakes winner Maiden Beauty.
"When we claimed her, I was just happy she ran so well that day because she was longer odds," Atras said. "Mike Dubb picked her out, and I liked her, but it was a great claim. We nominated and it looked like we had a shot with the short field. The weather has been tedious lately and training has been interrupted, but she's a nice filly. I've liked her since day one. I'm glad Mike decided to claim her."
Breaking from post 4 in the Ladies, Battle Bling emerged well under Trevor McCarthy while the Gary Sciacca-trained Exotic West stumbled at the start from post 1 and unseated rider Dylan Davis. Exotic West ran riderless behind the field before the outrider collared her and safely escorted her off the track while Davis sprung quickly to his feet.
Longshot Vienna Code was unbothered by the commotion to her inside and bounded away to take the lead in the first turn from Its Cold in Dehere while Battle Bling was shuffled back to last of five through an opening quarter-mile in :24.97. With no change to the running order through a slow half-mile in :50.91, McCarthy began to get to work on Battle Bling, closing in on her rivals as the field passed the three-quarter marker and made their way into the final turn. At the top of the stretch, it was a three-way battle between Vienna Code on the rail with post-time favorite Miss Leslie and Battle Bling before Battle Bling shouldered her way to the front inside the final sixteenth. She gamely prevailed by a neck over Miss Leslie with a late-running Kiss the Girl another half-length back in third.
Battle Bling ($8.70), earning her first stakes score in the Ladies, ran the nine furlongs on a fast main track in 1:57.11.
"My filly is a big, long striding filly," said McCarthy. "She doesn't have much punch, but when she does you got to get her rolling and she'll keep on going."
Atras praised McCarthy's ability to adapt his ride to the slower pace.
"He sent and then noticed there was a little bit of speed and dropped back. They were going moderate—not slow, but not too fast," said Atras. "He made a real bold move in the turn and I thought that was a great move that he made. Trevor is a strong rider and she held on."
A general steward's inquiry was conducted to review the start of the race regarding Exotic West, resulting in no change to the order of finish.
Bred in Kentucky by Royal Oak Farm and E. Kiely, Battle Bling is the first stakes winner produced from the winning E Dubai mare Soleil Rouge, who is the dam of four winners from four foals to race.
Battle Bling improved her overall record to 3-4-1 from 13 starts and has earnings of $203,867.