Behaving Badly, making her first start since her four-race winning streak was halted at Churchill Down on May 6, caught a small field Monday afternoon and did just what she had to do to hold off on-coming Swap Fliparoo and win the 23rd running of the grade II, $143,200 Genuine Risk Breeders' Cup Handicap for fillies and mares at six furlongs.
Owned by Hal Earnhardt III and Patti Earnhardt and trained by Bob Baffert, Behaving Badly broke from the rail under jockey Garrett Gomez and was taken to the outside to target front-running Stormy Kiss and Khalila through a quarter mile of :22.50 and a half of :45.58 on the fast main track.
Behaving Badly had only Swap Fliparoo beat as they hit the turn, but soon pulled to within the leaders. Stormy Kiss was reluctant to give up the lead, but Behaving Badly took it just the same. She appeared clear, although a late run by Swap Fliparoo made the outcome interesting. Still, Behaving Badly prevailed by a half-length in 1:09.96.
"She sat off the pace before," Gomez said. "It looks like she is always on the lead, but she sat off a bit. She is very tractable. She's a pure class filly who does everything right. My job is to make her most comfortable. When I found those other two had out-footed her a little bit, I asked her to pick it up a little bit. She wasn't real happy, so I let her re-coup herself and took her outside for a clear run."
Behaving Badly returned $2.50 for her eighth win in 11 career starts. A 5-year-old daughter of Pioneering, Behaving Badly was bred in New York by the partnership of Thomas/Lakin. In addition to the Genuine Risk, the mare won the grade I Santa Monica Handicap and grade III Las Flores.
"I just left it up to (jockey) Garrett Gomez," said Baffert from California. "You need to help her for the first few jumps out of the gate, and after that you can do what you want with her. I hated her in the one-hole, but it worked out because he was able to get her outside. It was an exciting race and she's a beautiful mare. I'm going to see how she comes out of it before we find a spot. She loves Del Mar. It's a pleasure to train for her owners (Hal and Patti Earnhardt). There's no pressure with them. They're in the game to enjoy watching their horses run."
Stormy Kiss lasted for third and Khalila was fourth.(Chart, Equibase)To purchase a photo from this race, visit the new Blood-Horse Photo Store