After Mackie Racing's Kya One finished a belated fifth to Naples Bay in her
U.S. debut in the Grade 3 Noble Damsel over a mile at Belmont Park, trainer Chad
Brown explained that his new recruit really needed more ground. That proposition
was tested, and confirmed, in Thursday's Grade 3, $100,000
Charmer Handicap at Calder, where Kya One profited from an extra furlong to
defeat Naples Bay by a cozy 1 1/4 lengths.
The betting public tended to agree with Brown's view of the matter, sending Kya One off as the slight 9-5 favorite over the 2-1 Naples Bay. With Paco Lopez aboard, the French import raced near the rear as 30-1 longshot Wicked Night surprisingly led through an opening quarter in :23 on the firm turf.
Kya One improved her position on the backstretch, aided by her hedge-hugging trip from post 1 as well as by the sensible pace. After Wicked Night reached the half-mile mark in :47, the expected pacesetter Speak Easy Gal went after her in earnest, put her head in front through six furlongs in 1:11 3/5, and soon dispatched the longshot.
But Naples Bay, who had been parked in third on the outside, was on the advance, just ahead of fellow stalker Janicellaine. Already lapped onto Speak Easy Gal turning for home, they wasted no time in drawing away from her.
Kya One, meanwhile, had angled to the outside in preparation for the drive. Although Naples Bay was keeping Janicellaine at bay, she was all out. Kya One was just beginning to unwind, and the outcome was apparent a furlong out.
Driving to the fore, Kya One rolled past Naples Bay, opened up decisively, and stopped the teletimer in 1:47 2/5 for nine grassy furlongs. Lopez wrapped up on her once victory was firmly in his grasp, making her final-furlong split of :11 3/5 all the more impressive.
"My plan was to put her wherever I could in the race, so I just let the other fillies go and she settled nicely behind," Lopez recapped. "At the three-eighths pole I had a good position, and then when I pushed, my filly started running hard. She tried real hard from the mile to the mile and a sixteenth, and she finished strong. She's a nice filly."
Kya One returned $5.60, $3.20 and $2.40.
Naples Bay had a neck to spare over third-placer Janicellaine. Another 1 1/4 lengths astern in fourth came Hooh Why. Callmethesqueeze reported home fifth, 11 1/2 lengths ahead of Speak Easy Gal, and Wicked Night brought up the rear. My Pal Chrisy was scratched.
Kya One's first graded coup improved her scorecard to 21-6-1-6, $234,178. At times competing in claimers in her native France, she was an astute claim by trainer Yves de Nicolay for ?17,000 in July 2011. Successful in a handicap in her first start for Nicolay, Kya One next stepped up to stakes company and finished third in both the Prix de Liancourt and in the Group 3 La Coupe de Maisons-Laffitte last fall.
Earlier this season, Kya One was taking on some stiff company. She finished fifth in the Group 3 Prix Exbury versus males on March 17, beaten two lengths by the globetrotting Chinchon. Kya One defeated males when breaking through with her first stakes win in the April 5 Prix Jacques Laffitte, and ended her French career with a decent sixth in the Group 2 Prix Corrida on May 28. The top three finishers were, respectively, future Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe heroine Solemia and multiple Group 1 winners Shareta and Siyouma.
Bred by Ecurie D., Kya One is a four-year-old daughter of One Cool Cat. She is the first registered foal produced by the winning Thunder Gulch mare Kya Gulch. Kya One's second dam, Group 3 queen Luna Kya, is herself a half-sister to multiple French stakes scorers Livandar and King Luna.
This is the family of French classic-winning sire Linamix, French champion Long Mick and Group 1 victress Luna Wells, the dam of Group 3 hero Cat Junior. Other maternal relatives include Grade/Group 2 winners Luazur and Colorado Claire along with Group 3 scorers Lunafairy, Lunasalt, Lorymaya and Luna Mareza.