Undefeated in California dirt sprints, the speedy 5-year-old mare Behaving Badly is in a great spot to pick up her first victory outside the Golden State when she goes to the post at Belmont Park a heavy favorite in Monday's $150,000 Genuine Risk Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at six furlongs.
The Bob Baffert-trained Behaving Badly has won seven of 10 and earned more than $500,000 in a distaff sprint division where races with giant purses are hard to come by. Her only loss in California was her lone try on turf. The other defeats came in Kentucky, including a runner-up finish to stablemate Pussycat Doll in her latest start in the Humana Distaff (gr. I).
She'll face just three rivals at Belmont. To be ridden by Garrett Gomez, Behaving Badly is 1-2 on the morning line.
"She's never won on the road," Baffert said. "This is her last chance. If she doesn't win Sunday, I'll keep her in California."
Baffert could have run Behaving Badly in Hollywood Park's A Gleam Handicap (gr. II) Saturday, but opted for a cross-country ship because of the weight she was assigned in the A Gleam.
"She picked up a pound for the A Gleam coming off a loss," Baffert said. "For the Genuine Risk, she was dropped a pound, which is the right thing to do. I'm just looking out for her best interest down the road."
Behaving Badly will carry 121 pounds in the Genuine Risk and spot at least seven pounds to her opponents. Stormy Kiss will carry 114 pounds and a pair of 3-year-olds, Khalila and Swap Fliparoo, have been assigned 110.
Sent off at 4-5 in the Humana Distaff, Behaving Badly made the lead and appeared to be headed for her fifth straight win until Pussycat Doll kicked in and ran her down late.
"Seven furlongs is probably a little bit too far for her," Baffert said, although the Pioneering
mare owns a seven-furlong win in Santa Anita's Santa Monica (gr. I). "You wouldn't think it by looking at her. She's probably better at six or six-and-a-half furlongs."
Lael Stable's Stormy Kiss has won six of eight starts and is a grade I winner in her native Argentina. Stormy Kiss finished fifth in her North American debut for trainer Barclay Tagg in a listed stakes race at Delaware.
It was a rough race and Stormy Kiss redeemed herself June 14 when, facing four rivals, the 4-year-old filly ran to the front and extended her lead to win by 4 ½ lengths in an allowance optional claimer.
Khalila and Swap Fliparoo both exit the overnight Queen of Song Stakes at Belmont June 9. Khalila, trained by the red-hot Kiaran McLaughlin, was the 4-5 favorite in that race but finished third behind stablemate Capote's Crown and Swap Fliparoo.$150,000 Genuine Risk Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II, Race 3, 2:04 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 6 Furlongs
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, ML Odds
1. Behaving Badly (NY), Garrett K. Gomez, 121, 1/2
2. Stormy Kiss (ARG), Javier Castellano, 114, 5/2
3. Khalila (LA), John R. Velazquez, 110, 4/1
4. Swap Fliparoo (FL), Julien R. Leparoux, 110, 10/1