Breaking from the rail for Rafael Bejarano, Dream Rush grabbed the lead as Dreaming of Anna stumbled, and maintained her advantage over the 2-5 favorite all the way to the turn. Rene Douglas, aboard Dreaming of Anna, desperately tried to rally the champion on the bend, but Dream Rush simply left her behind at the head of the stretch and won under some urging through the lane. The final time for the 6 1/2-furlong Old Hat was 1:16 3/5.
Bejarano said he wanted the lead Saturday.
"She made it easy," he said. "I was always confident. My horse hadn’t won a Breeders’ Cup race, but I could see Rene was riding hard, and I always had a lot of horse.
You Asked, ridden by Mark Guidry, finished 3 1/2 lengths behind the winner as she rallied late to get second, dropping Dreaming of Anna to third, another 3 1/4 lengths behind.
Dreaming of Anna won all four of her starts as a 2-year-old, wrapping up divisional honors with an impressive 1 1/2-length win in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) at Churchill Downs in her last start Nov. 4. Among her victories last season was a one-mile triumph on the Woodbine lawn over males in the Summer Stakes (Can-III).
“I was happy where she broke and where she sat early in the race, but at the three-eighths pole, where she usually drags you to the lead, she didn’t do that and I knew she wasn’t herself today," Douglas said.
Dream Rush, owned by West Point Thoroughbreds and Lewis Lakin and trained by Richard Violette Jr., won her stakes debut in the Old Hat. The dark bay daughter of Wild Rush--Turbo Dream (Unbridled) signaled her readiness with a troubled second-place showing in her 2007 debut, a six-furlong event Jan. 20 at Gulfstream when she was forced to steady on the backstretch and boxed in on the turn. The filly won both of her starts in 2006 by a combined margin of more than nine lengths.
“I really put handcuffs on Rafael last time," Violette said. "It was her first start of the year. We wanted her to learn how to rate and she didn’t need to run her A-plus race. She did move forward off of that, and we thought if we could put pressure on the champion. We could force her to chase us, and even for a good horse, it’s hard to chase, even if you’re dead fit.
Violette said he would like to stretch Dream Rush out for her next start, which could come in the Bonnie Miss (gr. II) at 1 1/8 miles on March 10.
"She’s out of an Unbridled mare, and they are supposed to get two turns," he said." I think now that we can win on the lead or rate, it makes us pretty dangerous."
James H. Petrey Jr. bred Dream Rush, a $285,000 Ocala buy one year ago, in Kentucky.
Dream Rush set quick fractions of :22 1/5 and :44 4/5, completing six furlongs on 1:09 3/5.
Sent off as the second choice in the field of six, Dream Rush paid $6, $4.40 and $2.10. You Asked, coming off an allowance win at Gulfstream Jan. 18 for trainer Alan Goldberg, returned $7.40 and $2.10. Dreaming of Anna, who carried top weight of 121 pounds, was $2.10 to show.
It was 9 1/2 lengths back to Splendid Spring, who finished fourth, followed by Secretsoftheheart and Bear Now.