Mark Stanley’s Swift Temper, returning to action off less than two weeks rest, upset odds-on favorite Seventh Street in the $300,000 Ruffian Handicap (gr. I) (VIDEO) Sept. 12 in the mud at Belmont Park. The 1 3/4-length victory earned the 5-year-old daughter of Giant's Causeway an automatic berth in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic (gr. I) Nov. 6 at Santa Anita.
It was the first grade I score for Swift Temper, who finished a distant runner-up to Icon Project Aug. 30 in the 10-furlong Personal Ensign (gr. I) at Saratoga. But the 12 days rest did not deter trainer Dale Romans from bringing the chestnut mare back to action. She was cutting back to 1 1/16 miles for the Ruffian and turned in a big effort under Alan Garcia at odds of 4-1.
"I didn’t like (bringing her back on short rest) but she came out of the last race better than any race I’ve had her for," Romans said. "Her first day on the racetrack she was fresh and training well, acting like she hadn’t run. And going back and watching the replays, she only really ran the last quarter-mile in that race. I was a little more concerned about the shortening up of the distance, if she’d be fresh enough to be close like she was, but it worked out well.
"We’ll talk about (the Breeders’ Cup), and see. Maybe we’ll go straight there."
Swift Temper raced in tandem with Exotic Indy through the backstretch, as those two sat comfortably behind pacesetter Be Fair and 3-10 favorite Seventh Street, who pressed the pace under Rajiv Maragh. Be Fair took the field around a quarter-mile in :22.30 and a half-mile in :45.58.
As they made their way into the far turn Seventh Street took over from Be Fair, but Swift Temper was coming with her three-wide move and edged in front just inside the quarter-pole. Swift Temper maintained a narrow advantage as they dueled in upper stretch, then put Seventh Street away inside the sixteenth pole for the upset.
The final time on a track labeled “muddy” was 1:40.59. Seventh Street was 8 3/4 lengths ahead of third-place Luna Vega. Owned by Godolphin, Seventh Street had posted two grade I wins earlier this season, including the Go For Wand Handicap Aug. 2 at Saratoga.
"My filly broke okay and I saw (Be Fair) go to the lead," Garcia said. "I said, ‘let me be behind and see what I have left.’ I thought maybe I could make a surprise on the outside and intimidate (Seventh Street). Maybe my filly did intimidate her a little bit, took advantage and won the race.”
Swift Temper earned her third graded stakes victory of the season and fourth overall. In April, she claimed the Sixty Sails Handicap (gr. III) at Hawthorne, and on July 19 went wire-to-wire to steal the $1 million Delaware Handicap (gr. II) while upsetting Unbridled Belle.
Bred in Kentucky by Richard Nip and Omar Trevino, Swift Temper is out of the Seeking the Gold mare Glasgow’s Gold. She is improved to 6-4-3 from 29 starts and bumped her earnings to $1,293,346.
The winner paid $11.40, $3, and $2.30. The exacta (2-1) returned $2.40 and the trifecta (2-1-5) was $36.80.
Skylighter, a coupled entry with Seventh Street, finished fourth, followed by Be Fair and Exotic Indy.