Baghdaria made up a 2 1/2-length disadvantage in the stretch to collar the co-favorite Maggie Slew in the final stages to win the $200,000 Iowa Oaks (gr. III) at Prairie Meadows Friday night.
Under strong urging from Rafael Bejarano, Baghderia got to the wire a half-length in front of Maggie Slew in a time of 1:43 for the 1 1/16-mile event for 3-year-old fillies. Brownie Points, the morning-line favorite, finished 1 1/4 lengths farther behind in third.
Thom Amoss trains the winning daughter of Royal Academy
-Oatsee (by Unbridled) who captured the Silverbulletday (gr. III) at Louisiana Downs in January to cap a three-race winning streak but had been winless since. Owned by Clinton and Susan Atkins, Baghderia had rebounded from a couple of disappointing efforts to finish third in the Black-Eyed Susan (gr. II) at Pimlico May 19.
"(The Brown-Eyed Susan) was a race where we had a bit of a tough trip," Amoss explained. "We weren't very well placed at the beginning of the race. On that particular day, we were along the inside. We had trouble down the backside waiting, waiting, waiting. When we finally got clear, the race was over."
Maggie Slew, the pacesetter ridden by Julien Leparoux, and Baghdaria went off at odds of 9-5, although Baghdaria was the slight favorite. Maggie Slew held a comfortable advantage in the field of six as she carved fractions of :23 3/5, :47 3/5 and 1:11 4/5, repelling a bid by Saffronista midway on the final turn to open up a big edge entering the stretch.
Baghdaria, who stalked the leader in third, and Brownie Points, who saved ground in fourth, both loomed in the stretch, but Baghdaria showed her best stride in the final furlong to get past Maggie Slew.
"Going down the backside," said Amoss, "I told the owner (that Rafael) is sure a lot more patient than I would be. I would have gone out to be the leader. It turned out that that was the right way to ride the filly – to be patient. That's why he gets paid the big bucks."
Saffronista was relegated to fourth while Avalon Place and Lady Bell Dawn trailed.
Baghdaria now has four wins and a trio of third place finishes on her resume and a bankroll totaling $358,490. Her breeder in Kentucky is Bentley L. Smith.
Baghdaria paid $5.60, $3.20, and $2.40. Maggie Slew returned $3.60 and $2.60. Brownie Points, ridden by Luis Quinonez, was $2.20.