Askbut I Won'ttell switched off the hedge in upper stretch and ran down favored Kiss Mine and My Baby Baby to register her first graded stakes win in the $113,900 Cardinal Handicap (gr. IIIT) Nov. 7 at Churchill Downs.
Shaun Bridgmohan rode the Florida-bred 4-year-old Horse Chestnut filly to a 1 1/4-length upset victory on the turf for trainer Chris Block and owners Team Block and Rich Ege. Askbut I Won'ttell was coming off a last-place finish in the Spinster Stakes (gr. I) on the Polytrack at Keeneland Oct. 10 and appreciated the return to grass, where she has now won four of nine starts.
In her first try on the Churchill lawn, Askbut I Won'ttell was sent off at 6-1 odds and covered the 1 1/8-mile distance in 1:50.41 on firm going. Kiss Mine, ridden by Robby Albarado, held on for second along the inside by a neck. My Baby Baby finished third with Julien Leparoux aboard.
Askbut I Won'ttell fell into a stalking position off the rail as War Tigress outfought Kiss Mine for the lead through soft fractions of :25.02, :49.91, and 1:14.45.
Kiss Mine commenced her bid approaching the three-eighths pole and soon grabbed the lead as My Baby Baby challenged her on the outside. Askbut I Won'ttell, patiently handled by Bridgmohan, had moved to the hedge earlier but angled out as Paracaidas gave way on her outside. Askbut I Won'ttell, with dead aim on the outside of the leaders, hit the front past the sixteenth pole and edged away.
"At the top of the stretch I just needed to find her somewhere to go and once I swung her out and asked her for it, she gave it to me and finished," Bridgmohan said. "She’s a filly that comes from a little further back.”
Askbut I Won'ttell won for the third time in nine starts this year and ended a four-race losing streak since taking an Illinois owners stakes at Arlington Park in May. Her record improved 5-3-2 in 15 starts with earnings of $264,902 with the winning share of $69,206.
"We have taken our time with her and we ran her on the synthetic at Arlington and she ran a monster number, like a 106 Beyer Speed Figure," said co-owner David Block. "We thought that would be the place to make her name on the synthetic, and then we ran her in a couple of other spots and took her to Canada and she ran well. But we ran her at Keeneland (in the Spinster) and she didn’t do anything. We wanted to bring her back to the turf and she showed us today that is where she really belonged."
Askbut I Won'ttell is headed for Florida and a probable start in the Sunshine Millions, he said.
Hidden Point and Hal Queen Farm bred the winning chestnut filly. She is out of Silver Dollar Kate, by Green Dancer.
Sent off as the fifth choice in the field of seven, Askbut I Won'ttell carried 114 pounds and paid $14.80, $6.20, and $3.80. Kiss Mine, who had a four-race winning streak for trainer David Vance before being overmatched in the Abu Dhabi First Lady Stakes (gr. IT) at Keeneland in her last start, returned $3.40 and $2.80. The exacta paid $47.40. My Baby Baby was $3.20 to show.
Princess Haya finished 2 1/4 lengths back in fourth, followed by War Tigress, Paracaidas, and Romin Robin.