Even-money choice Pirate's Trove was all out to stave off an upset-minded Cactus Kid in the $116,451 Duchess Stakes (VIDEO) by a nose July 20 at rainy Woodbine to remain unbeaten in two starts.
Shipped in from Arlington International Racecourse by trainer Mike Stidham, Al Shahania Racing's Pirate's Trove was heavily supported in the seven-furlong Polytrack test for 3-year-old fillies off a 12 1/4-length debut win May 31.
Stidham was deadly with stakes shippers this weekend, capturing the San Clemente Handicap (gr. IIT) for 3-year-old fillies on the Del Mar turf with 10-1 shot Istanford July 19.
After stalking pacesetter Zensational Bunny into the stretch, Pirate's Trove swept past to a 1 1/2-length lead mid-stretch, then was all out in the drive for Florent Geroux to hold off an unlucky Cactus Kris at the wire.
Cactus Kris, a Presque Isle Downs shipper ridden by Huber Villa-Gomez, advanced from mid-pack to reach contention mid-stretch. But she had to wait briefly for room to open up along this rail before closing with a big rush to just miss at 11-1 odds. She was clearly in front just past the finish line.
Hillhouse High, ridden by Luis Contreras, was 1 1/2 lengths farther back in third, followed by Madly Truly, Zensational Bunny, and Appreciating.
"She was looking around a little bit the last eighth (of a mile), but she hung on," said Geroux.
Although the filly has just two starts under her belt, Geroux is quite familiar with the talented miss.
"I've been working her for several weeks before she raced," said Geroux. "She can be a little bit hyper, a little bit complicated sometimes, but she ran very fast and is a very nice filly."
The final time was 1:22.75 following fractions of :22.94, :46.14, and 1:10.31.
Pirate's Trove was bred in Kentucky by WinStar Farm and M R Capital. The imposing bay filly is by Speightstown out of the unraced Alydeed mare Authenic Deed.
In her only prior start, she demolished a maiden special weight field at Arlington in front-running fashion with Geroux aboard. Her Duchess win, worth $69,870, increased her earnings to $91,470.
Pirate's Trove returned $4.10, $2.90 and $2.40, pairing with Cactus Kris ($6.20, $3.80) for a $27.40 exacta. Hillhouse High, paying $2.60 to show, completed a trifecta worth $82.10.
Lacarolina, On Rainbow Bridge, and Divine River were scratched.
Pirate's Trove originally sold for $110,000 to Cobra Farm when consigned by James B. Keogh at the Keeneland Association September 2012 Yearling Sale. Offered back at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale by consignor Eisaman Equine, she was a $65,000 RNA.
The fifth winner from nine starters for her dam, Pirate's Trove is a half sister to $720,046-winning filly Authenicat, and multiple stakes-placed gelding Fudgethebottomline, who earned $264,895.