Trainer Rick Violette added blinkers to March Magic for Saturday's $300,000 Molly Pitcher Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) and the 4-year-old filly responded by winning the 1 1/16-mile Monmouth Park feature by three lengths. The race was marred by the break down of 3-5 favorite License Fee. Pat Day, License Fee's jockey, was unhurt in the spill, according to a Monmouth Park release.
"I don't know if the blinkers helped, but they didn't hurt," said trainer Rick Violette. "When she breaks well, she runs her race, and today she got into the race going into the first turn."
March Magic pressed Shine Again through an opening quarter-mile run in a moderate :24.07, with License Fee just a head farther back. Shine Again and March Magic continued on after License Fee fell on the backstretch, with the former retaining her half-length advantage through a :47.07 half-mile. March Magic moved up closer on the second turn and kicked clear in the stretch en route to the three-length win over Vivid Sunset. Under Mike Luzzi, March Magic completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.79 on a fast track.
"She took hold of the bit into the first turn and ran great all the way to the wire," Luzzi said.
Shine Again faded to third, followed by Wittenberg, Hemline, and Resort.
A 4-year-old filly, March Magic (Evansville Slew--Bay Magic, by Ack Ack) was bred in Kentucky by W.R. Stoops. She earned owner Ralph M. Evans $180,000 for the win, her sixth in 20 career starts. Her lone graded stakes win prior to the Molly Pitcher came in the Comely Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct last year. The win marks her third on the year and follows a second-place finish to Apple of Kent in the Shuvee Handicap (gr. II).
The third choice in the wagering, March Magic returned $12.40, $7.60, and $4.20. Vivid Sunset paid $13 and $7.40. Shine Again returned $5 to show. The winning exacta combination paid $88.40. (Chart, Equibase