Any Limit Plays Right Cards in First Lady

Joseph V. Shields Jr.'s homebred Any Limit pulled away from her rivals mid-stretch to post her first graded stakes win in the First Lady Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares at Gulfstream Park Saturday.

Ridden by Rafael Bejarano for trainer Allen Jerkens, the 4-year-old filly Any Limit had been working exceptionally at Gulfstream Park for her first start since finishing third in the restricted Top Secret at Aqueduct Nov. 12. She tuned up for the First Lady with a pair of bullet works, clocking five furlongs Jan. 16 in :57 and four furlongs in :45 2/5 Jan. 6.

"Her (five furlong) workout was too fast," Jerkens said. "I considered not even running her, but it didn’t stop her from eating every oat after that, so we went ahead. I think she’ll go farther. Probably the 6 ½ (furlongs) will be next.” Jerkens is pointing to the $150,000 Hurricane Bertie (gr. III) at Gulfstream on Feb. 17.

Any Limit, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Limit Out--Clandestinely, by Forty Niner, stubbornly stalked the pacesetter Contrast three wide in third through an opening quarter mile in :22 3/5, moving into second after they completed a half-mile in :45 3/5. Racing three across the track in upper stretch with Actslikealady also challenging, Any Limit finished with authority to win by 2 1/2 lengths in 1:10 2/5.

“She broke a little slow, but I just asked her a little bit and she was very quick from there," Bejarano said. "She was really pulling. I just had to wait and wait to be sure, because I knew the favorites were the kind that come from behind.”

Contrast, Eddie Castro aboard, won a blanket finish for second by a nose over Actslikealady and John Velazquez, with a closing Flying Circle a neck behind in fourth. Grade I winner Malibu Mint, the 11-10 choice carrying top weight of 120 pounds, was never a factor while running on late to finish fifth, 3 1/2 lengths behind the winner. Leona's Knight, Annabill and No Hear Say trailed.

Any Limit's last victory came in Aqueduct's My Flag in October, her only previous stakes score. The bay filly, who carried 114 pounds Saturday, has five wins in 13 lifetime starts and earnings of $204,774.

Sent off as the second choice in the field of eight, Any Limit paid $7.60, $ and $3.60. Contrast returned $4.20 and $3.60. Actslikealady was $6.60 to show.

(Chart, Equibase)

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