Odds-on favorite Hot Dixie Chick served notice that she is among the elite 2-year-old fillies in the land, as she put away a pair of rivals in upper stretch and glided home for a 1 3/4-length score in the $300,000 Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) (VIDEO) Sept. 6 at Saratoga.
It was the second win of the Saratoga meeting for the daughter of Dixie Union and her third consecutive score overall. The victory helped continue a sensational Labor Day weekend for the filly’s connections. She is owned by Barbara Banke’s Grace Stables and trained by Steve Asmussen. Asmussen and Banke’s husband, Jess Jackson, sent out Rachel Alexandra to a historic Woodward Stakes (gr. I) win one day prior.
Breaking from the inside post under Robby Albarado, Hot Dixie Chick tried to get the early lead but had to rate in second while the speedy Bickersons shot to the front in the seven-furlong sprint. Bickersons, ridden by John Velazquez, blitzed a :22.77 opening quarter and continued to lead through a hot :45.19 half-mile. Beautician made her presence known from the outside as they made their way along the turn, while Hot Dixie Chick continued to save ground in third.
Albarado took advantage of a nice hole along the rail when they turned for home and asked Hot Dixie Chick to move on through. The dark bay or brown filly responded with authority and she easily took over from her rivals. Albarado did not ask for much in straightaway, as Hot Dixie Chick was always comfortably in front of runner-up Beautician.
The final time on a track rated “fast” was 1:22.28. Bickersons was 8 1/2 lengths back of Beautician in third.
“I had a great trip,” Albarado said. “We kind of figured (Bickersons) would be up there in front of us, she’s quick. But I thought if Hot Dixie Chick settled in behind her she’d be fine, and she did. She had a nice opening up the fence and she ran well. I was just being patient in there, hoping something opened up.”
Bred in Kentucky by Santa Rosa Partners and out of the In Excess mare Above Perfection, Hot Dixie Chick entered the Spinaway off a dominating 6 1/4-length triumph in the July 29 Schuylerville (gr. III). She broke her maiden at second asking June 13 at Churchill Downs by nearly the same margin.
“Obviously, today she reached a new level,” Asmussen said. “I don’t know if we look past this at all. It’s a grade I, the Spinaway. She’s got a mind that’s spooky. She’s extremely laid back. (Assistant trainer) Scott (Blasi) said she was laying down in the holding barn. Her demeanor is why she’s stabled next to Rachel (Alexandra). You can’t have a better demeanor than that.”
Hot Dixie Chick is now 3-1-0 from four starts with earnings of $285,685.
Sent off at odds of 3-10, Hot Dixie Chick paid $2.60, $2.20, and $2.10. The exacta (1-6) paid $5.10, and the trifecta (1-6-4) returned $51.
Sassy Image finished fourth, followed by Magic Appeal, Opus A, Sky Fever, and Snap Happy.