Bizzy Caroline, making her stakes debut, kicked clear late to register a 2 1/4-length win in the $138,125 Regret Stakes (gr. IIIT) on the Churchill Downs turf course June 18, earning her third consecutive win (VIDEO).
Manoel Cruz rode the winning daughter of Afleet Alex --Sacre Coeur, by Saint Ballado, to victory as the 4-1 third choice in the 1 1/8-mile test for 3-year-old fillies. Ken McPeek trains Bizzy Caroline for Catesby Clay, who bred the dark bay/brown filly with Runnymeade Farm.
The victory was the second stakes win of the day for the red-hot McPeek, who has won the last five Churchill Downs graded stakes he has entered. The final time was 1:49.73 on a course rated firm.
“She ran a great race," McPeek said. "I think (Bizzy Caroline) is a filly that just needed to mature. When she was younger, she looked like a horse that was headed in the right direction, but would need some time. The Clays are a great family and had no problem with us taking our time to develop her.”
The low-keyed McPeek said he could not remember a hot streak such as the one he currently has going.
"We just try and take it one race at a time," he said. "This game is very humbling and as soon as you think you have the ‘bull by the horns,’ it will take you out.”
Breaking from the rail in the field of eight, Bizzy Caroline raced mid-pack along the inside as Bouquet Booth showed the way for Shaun Bridgmohan, who guided the Flower Alley filly through soft quarter-mile fractions of :24.61, :49.19, and 1:12.87.
Bizzy Caroline responded when roused by Cruz on the final turn, angling out for the stretch drive and taking aim at the leaders. Excited, racing on equal terms with Bouquet Booth in the lane for Javier Castellano, put her head in front at the eighth pole. Bizzy Caroline, third at that point, blew past in the final furlong, however, and drew off late.
“I rode her with a lot of confidence and let her tell me where she wanted to be in the race," Cruz said. "Kenny has a lot of faith in me and didn’t give me any instructions. He just said to go do my job."
Excited finished second by a half-length over Bouquet Booth, with 9-5 favorite Kathmanblu a head farther back in fourth after rallying five-wide off the final turn. McPeek also trains Kathmanblu.
“I think she (Kathmanblu) is probably due a rest," he said. "She’s been running hard since January and it might be time to just give her a little R&R and go from there.”
After doing little in two starts at 2, Bizzy Caroline started the year with a fast-closing third against maidens in a one-mile turf race at Gulfstream Park March 19.
Shifting to Kentucky, Bizzy Caroline came back April 28 to break her maiden by 2 1/2 lengths as the favorite in a maiden special weight on a yielding Keeneland turf course at 1 3/16 miles. In her first try against winners May 27 at Churchill, she romped to a seven-length victory over first-level allowance rivals going 1 1/16 miles on a good course.
Her third win in six lifetime starts was worth $83,070 and boosted her career bankroll to $148,497.
Bizzy Caroline carried 116 pounds and paid $10.20, $4.60, and $4.40. Second choice Excited, winner of the Hilltop Stakes on a yielding course at Pimlico Race Course May 20 for trainer Todd Pletcher, returned $4.80 and $4. The exacta was worth $40.70. Bouquet Booth paid $6 to show.