After dueling in early stretch with grade I winner Harmonize, Linda found another gear in the final furlong to register a 2 1/2-length victory in the $200,000 Mrs. Revere Stakes (gr. IIT) Nov. 25 at Churchill Downs. Watch Video
In completing the 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies in 1:44.63 on firm turf, Linda secured her first graded stakes win and continued a strong weekend for trainer Ian Wilkes at the Louisville track. Wilkes picked up his second win of the day after winning three on Nov. 24 including the River City Handicap (gr. IIIT) with Thatcher Street. Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. guided both of Wilkes' Churchill stakes winners to victory Thursday and Friday.
"That was a hell of a performance because that was a nice grade I-winning horse (Harmonize) that she had held off," Wilkes said. "Anytime you hold off a grade I horse like that, and that's our first stakes win with her, that's a big performance. She was slow to develop as a baby and went through a few things but when she came to us she just blossomed and got better and better."
In the Mrs. Revere, Linda raced in seventh while Caren, who entered off of four straight wins in which she led at every call, cruised through a half-mile in :48.61. In the far turn Linda launched a wide rally with Harmonize making up ground outside of her.
Those two broke away from the field in early stretch and raced together until about mid-stretch. Hernandez said he was confident Linda had more as she battled with Harmonize, who won the Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT) in August and just missed a second straight top-level win when second by a head in the Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup Stakes presented by Lane's End in October at Keeneland.
A homebred for Janis Whitham, Linda would find more and draw clear with Harmonize finishing second, well ahead of longshot Sweet Tapper—also trained by Wilkes—in third. Linda paid $10, $4.20, and $4.20 across the board while Harmonize returned $3.20 and $2.80. Sweet Tapper returned $14.60 to show.
Hawksmoor, the 9-5 favorite off a close third in the Queen Elizabeth, raced wide and never threatened, finishing sixth.
The Mrs. Revere was just the second stakes try for Linda, who entered off a runner-up finish to Quidura (GB) in the Pin Oak Valley View Stakes (gr. IIIT) Oct. 21 on soft turf at Keeneland. Before that effort Linda won a maiden race on the Ellis Park turf and an allowance event at Kentucky Downs.
"We had thought she would run that well but for her told hold off a challenge form Harmonize like she did," Hernandez said. "That was real impressive."
Kentucky-bred Linda is out of grade II winner Beautiful Noise, by Sunny's Halo. Beautiful Noise has produced four other winners.
Wilkes and Hernandez teamed with Whitham homebred Fort Larned to win the 2012 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park.