Daisy Devine Outclasses Blushing K.D. Rivals
Grade I winner Daisy Devine made quick work of four rivals in the $72,000 Blushing K.D. Handicap, (VIDEO) going gate to wire for a six-length victory on the turf at Fair Ground Race Course & Slots Dec. 22.
The 1-5 favorite in 1 1/16-mile turf event for fillies and mares was ridden to victory by Brian Hernandez Jr. in a time of 1:44.12 on firm footing. The race was one of three main stakes events on a program dubbed "Super Santa Saturday." In the other main events, Strike Impact took the Buddy Diliberto Memorial Handicap and China upset the Bonapaw Stakes at 36-1.
Andrew McKeever trains the 4-year-old daughter of Kafwain for owner James Miller. The bay filly, winer of the Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) on dirt at the New Orleans track last spring, was bred in Kentucky by J. Reiley McDonald and is out of the Devil's Bag mare Devil's Dispute.
Hernandez called the Blushing K.D. "a paid workout" for Daisy Devine, winner of the Jenny Wiley Stakes (gr. IT) April at Keeneland. Second in Keeneland's First Lady Stakes (gr. IT) in October, she was coming off a victory in the Cardinal Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs Nov. 10.
Breaking from the inside post in the small field, Daisy Devine went directly to the front on the initial straightaway to lead 50-1 shot Necessary Luxury through the first six furlongs, which went in fractions of :24.00, :49.42, and 1:13.80.
Racing slightly off the rail into the far turn, she extended her lead to 3 1/2 lengths coming into the stretch before opening up by eight lengths after being asked a bit by Hernandez. She was eased up in the final furlong.
Daisy Devine, who paid $2.40, won for the ninth time in a 16-race career and upped her earnings to $946,281.
In the $73,500 Diliberto Memorial, 8-year-old Strike Impact, urged home emphatically by Shaun Bridgmohan, defeated Hotep by one length to post an 8-1 surprise. The veteran campaigner Strike Impact, trained and co-owned by Patrick Dupuy along with Chester J. Miller, ran the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:46.38 on the turf.
Dupuy clamed Strike Impact in 2009.
"I just wanted to give him a better trip than I did last time," said Bridgmohan in reference to a sixth-place finish in an allowance heat at Churchill Downs Nov. 16. "In his last race I think I just got in his way."
The $74,250 Bonapaw Stakes at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf went to front-running China, the longest shot on the board at 36-1, with John Jacinto aboard for trainer John Good and owners Black Sheep Racing.
"I never thought I'd be on the lead but he broke so sharp I just let him go," Jacinto said in the winner's circle.
"He just didn't show up with his 'A' game today," said his trainer Bret Calhoun. "We didn't quite get the trip we were looking for."
Good seemed surprised by China's win.
"Even putting him in this race itself was kind of an audible," he said. "It was just that the surface switch (dirt to turf) made sense."
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