Sent off at 10-1, Cowgirl’s Don’t Cry earned her first graded stakes victory while Luzzi notched win number 2,999 for his career. One race later, Luzzi achieved his milestone victory when he guided 3-year-old gelding Too Tough Pete to a maiden triumph.
A 4-year-old daughter of Pure Prize, Cowgirl’s Don’t Cry is trained by Kiaran McLaughlin.
Cowgirl’s Don’t Cry entered the one-mile main track event off a third-place effort in the April 19 Bed o’ Roses Handicap (gr. II) at Aqueduct, where she was 3 3/4 lengths back of Rite Moment, who was made the 3-2 favorite in the Shuvee. Prior to that, Cowgirl’s Don’t Cry was last in the Next Move Handicap (gr. III), also at Aqueduct, as she was eased in the stretch. Wow Me Free won that race and was the 2-1 second choice in the Shuvee as a result.
But on this day things were much different. There was nobody to challenge the chestnut filly in the early going, as she broke well from post two and clicked off comfortable fractions of :23.76, :47.67 and 1:12.55. Taking the easiest route around the Belmont oval, Luzzi kept her close to the fence, with Striking Tomisue closest through the backstretch. But the pacesetter had an easy three-length advantage heading into the straightaway.
Under Rajiv Maragh, Rite Moment was third heading into the drive, and the Vicar filly began extender her stride. For a brief time it looked like she was going to corral the leader, but Cowgirl’s Don’t Cry found more in the final sixteenth, maintaining her clear lead to the wire.
The final time was 1:37.31. Rite Moment was second, 2 3/4 lengths in front of Wow Me Free.
“That’s a nice milestone,” Luzzi said. “I got my family here and they’re all happy for me. It’s been fun. I’m, not done yet. Maybe we can get a few thousand more. Anyway, we’ll try for 3,001 tomorrow.”
The winner paid $22.40, $7.70 and $3.70. The exacta (2-7) was worth $75, while the trifecta (2-7-6) returned $219.50.
Bred in Kentucky by Greg and Steve Justice, Cowgirl’s Don’t Cry is out of the Crafty Prospector mare Emphatic Style. She was purchased for $105,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-old sale of 2006. She was trained by both Trudy Feliciano and Todd Pletcher before McLaughlin took over conditioning duties late last year.
“I was surprised that the pace wasn’t very fast,” said McLaughlin, who also trains Wow Me Free. “I thought that there was more speed in the race and that it set up better for Wow Me Free. But we got the money – that’s the important thing.
“We really had no plan for Cowgirls Don’t Cry. This was the plan. Now, I guess we’ll probably run her back on June 14 ($300,000 Ogden Phipps Handicap, gr. I, Belmont Park).”
Cowgirl’s Don’t Cry, who opened her 4-year-old campaign by winning in allowance company Feb. 14 at Aqueduct, is now 4-1-1 from eight starts. She has banked $212,702 in earnings.