Be Gentle lost all chance right out of the gate in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I). She won the $230,000 Golden Rod (gr. II) Saturday at Churchill Downs by getting out of the gate first and leading all the way. It just goes to show what racing luck can mean.
True, she might not have beaten Halfbridled in the Breeders' Cup anyway. But she never got a chance, being bumped, then racing wide while finishing 11th, beaten 22 lengths.
Under John McKee on Saturday, Be Gentle led every step of the way, cutting moderate fractions to win her fourth start in seven starts. She covered the 1 1/16 mile in 1:45.91 after fractions of :24.11, :48.92, 1:13.55 and 1:39.20.
Be Gentle held off Lotta Kim by a length with longshot Dynaville a head farther back while finishing third.
The field was reduced by one at the start when Penny's Fortune was scratched after injuring a leg in the gate.
"I told John (McKee) just to ride her away from there," winning trainer D. Wayne Lukas said. "He asked, 'What if I'm on the lead,' and I told him, 'All the better.' "
"Things didn't work out in the Breeders' Cup, but she's the champion of Kentucky," owner Tom Van Meter said. Be Gentle was winning her third stakes in the state, having captured the Debutante (gr. III) at Churchill and the Alcibiades (gr. II) at Keeneland.
Be Gentle earned $142,600, increasing her bankroll to $523,078.
The 2-1 favorite, Be Gentle returned $6, $3.80 and $3.80. Lotta Kim returned $6.40 and $5.60 and Dynaville was worth $14.40.
Be Gentle was bred in Virginia by Nellie Cox and Rose Retreat Farm. The juvenile filly is by Tale of the Cat out of the Risen Star mare Gentlelilstar.
Galoping Gal was fourth, followed by Lenatareese, Jinny's Gold, Sheer Luck, Stellar Jayne, Birthday Song, Sister Star and Twilight Gallop.