Trained by Andrew McKeever, the 4-year-old daughter of Kafwain won for the fourth straight time and bagged her first grade I victory at odds of 7-1.
Graham recorded his first grade I win at Keeneland only a week ago when he guided Karlovy Vary to a similar front-running type score in the Central Bank Ashland (gr. I). He was able to give McKeever his first taste of grade I glory with Daisy Devine. The bay filly was bred in Kentucky by J. Reiley McDonald and is out of the Devil’s Bag mare Devil’s Dispute. She was bought for just $5,500 out of the Keeneland September 2009 yearling sale.
Daisy Devine began her winning streak last fall over the same Keeneland turf course when she scored in the Pin Oak Valley View (gr. IIIT) at 43-1, and continued her solid form at Fair Grounds when she won a pair of stakes down there, including the Mardi Gras Handicap in February.
With little speed in the race, Graham sent Daisy Devine right to the front and was able to carve out easy fractions in the 1 1/16-mile test. Receiving only mild pressure from Bay to Bay, she posted splits of :25.12, :50.78, and 1:15.35. Bay to Bay and Garrett Gomez chased her all the way around the course, while Heavenly Landing and Tapitsfly were in the next group, and favorites Zagora (7-5) and Aruna (2-1) were at the back.
Daisy Devine cut the corner nicely, holding a 1 1/2-length lead at the eighth pole, and never allowed Bay to Bay to get to her in her one-length triumph. Tapitsfly finished third, followed by Heavenly Landing, Zagora, and Aruna.
The final time on the firm turf was 1:43.21.
"She’s just a bigger, stronger filly this year," Graham said. "She does anything you want her to do--picks up, slows down, does whatever you ask her to do and does it the right way.”
The winner improved her record to 7-1-1 from 12 starts and upped her earnings to $758,349. It was her third graded stakes win, the other coming in the Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. IIT) last year.
Daisy Devine paid $16.80, $7.80, and $4.40. The exacta (5-6) returned $102.60 and the trifecta (5-6-3) was worth $577.40.