It's early yet, but Bouquet Booth stamped herself as one to follow for the 2011 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) when she unleashed a late burst to capture the $500,000 Delta Downs Princess (gr. III) (VIDEO) at the southwest Louisiana track Nov. 20.
Ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan for trainer Steve Margolis and owner Right Time Racing, the daughter of Flower Alley was facing winners for the first time following her 3 1/2-length maiden victory on Keeneland's Polytrack in her third start Oct. 15.
Bouquet Booth, sent off at 9-1 odds, defeated Niji's Grand Girl by a half-length, with pacesetting Grandacious a neck farther back in third. Promise Me a Cat, the 4-5 favorite, prompted the pace but faltered in the lane to finish fourth. The final time for the one-mile test for 2-year-old fillies was 1:40.59 on a fast track.
Settled near the rear of the nine-horse field, Bouquet Booth advanced three-wide on the final turn and swung out for a clear run in the stretch to get up in time under a drive from Bridgmohan.
Niji's Grand Girl, ridden by Robby Albarado, also made a strong bid from behind and got a head in front of Grandacious near mid-stretch before being out-finished by Bouquet Booth. Grandacious, who led by a half-length over Fiscal Policy and Promise Me a Cat through solid fractions of :22.17, :46.98, and 1:12.34, opened up on the final turn but failed to last.
Bred in Kentucky by Brookdale and Dr. Ted Folkerth, Bouquet Booth is out of the Loup Sauvage mare Toll Order and sold for $30,000 at the OBS June 2-year-olds and horses of racing age sale earlier this year. She is the first stakes winner for freshman sire Flower Alley.
The dark bay or brown filly began her career with two starts at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino before breaking her maiden at seven furlongs at Keeneland. She started her career with a third-place finish on a sloppy track Aug. 15, and then ran second by a head as the even-money choice on a fast track one month later. This was her two-turn debut.
Bouquet Booth earned $300,000 for the victory and paid $21.20, $9, and $6.60 as the fourth choice. Niji's Grand Girl, who was coming off a maiden win at Churchill Downs for trainer Ken McPeek, returned $7.80 and $3.80, and completed a $184.80 exacta. Grandacious paid $5.60 to show.