Even though Devil May Care’s sale price reached a respectable $400,000 at the 2008 Fasig-Tipton Florida select 2-year-olds in training sale after John Greathouse had bought her for $110,000 at Keeneland the year before, the Lexington-based owner still couldn’t let the filly go.
“I thought, there’s enough pedigree here for me to consider keeping this filly,” said Greathouse, who decided to campaign the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I)-bound daughter of Malibu Moon in the name of his family’s Glencrest Farm after she failed to meet her reserve. “(At the sale, I thought), It looks like there’s some ability there, and she had a couple vet issues that ran some people off.
“I had made up my mind where I was going on her (reserve-wise), and we weren’t very close to getting it. So I took my time, took a little flake out (of her), and the rest is where we’ve gotten to.”
Devil May Care, who has now won three of five starts, including the March 20 Bonnie Miss (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park, is currently ranked fifth on the Oaks graded stakes earnings list. The Oaks, which will be run at Churchill Downs April 30, caps its field at 14 horses.
Bred in Kentucky by Diamond A Racing Corp., Devil May Care is trained by Todd Pletcher. She broke her maiden at first asking as a juvenile at Saratoga, and followed that win with an impressive head victory in the Frizette (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
After a pair of off-the-board efforts in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) and Silverbulletday (gr. II) at Fair Grounds, Devil May Care returned to her winning ways when prevailing by 2 3/4 lengths over Amen Hallelujah in the March 20 Bonnie Miss.
Greathouse noted that he had originally sought Devil May Care as a yearling because he had detected a lot of early ability in the filly.
“I had seen this filly go on the farm…she’s one of those fillies that moved good, and had a high cruising speed, but she looked like she was going to go all day,” he said.
“She was a good-looking filly, and her half brother (Regal Ransom) had already won (the Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group U.A.E. Derby, UAE-II), and he’d already come back and ran second in (the Gulf News U.A.E. Two Thousand Guineas, UAE III). I thought here’s a horse that’s going to get some black-type. She’s a filly that looks like she wanted to run around two turns and had a high cruising speed.”
Devil May Care posted a bullet workout at Palm Meadows training center in Florida April 11, making Greathouse seem even more confident that she’s ready to fire in the Oaks. The bay covered four furlongs in :47.40, the fastest of 26 horses that worked that day.
“She’s a filly that wants to go as far as anybody’s horse wants to go,” said Greathouse of Devil May Care, who has won at distances ranging from six furlongs to 1 1/8 miles, which is the length of the Oaks. “A mile and a quarter or mile and a half isn’t going to bother this filly. You don’t know how somebody else’s horses are, though. At this point, all you can do is go by what you think you’ve got. If the next guy’s horse is better, it’s better. You can’t make them any faster than they are."
Greathouse said jockey John Velazquez, who has ridden the filly in all but one of her starts, is slated to be in the irons on Oaks Day.
“(Devil May Care) is the kind of filly I think will be a lot of fun for us this year,” Greathouse said. “Velazquez and Angel (Cordero) have always liked the filly a lot. I’ve seen her work with some of his better horses, and she compares favorably with all of his 3-year-olds. I’m looking for a big effort come the last day of April.”