Paint Me Red comes from off the pace under Ramon Dominguez to win her first stakes race.<br><a target="blank" href="">Order This Photo</a>

Paint Me Red comes from off the pace under Ramon Dominguez to win her first stakes race.
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Paint Me Red Likes Climate Change

Wins the Busanda Stakes in first northern start.

Paint Me Red, who began her career in Florida, took to the cold weather at Aqueduct to win the $80,850 Busanda Stakes Jan. 13.

The third choice in the six-horse field of 3-year-old fillies, Paint Me Red came from off the pace under Ramon Dominguez to win her first stakes race.

La Porta finished second in the mile and 70-yard race, 3 3/4 lengths in front of Sumptuous. The runner-up and third-place finisher are both trained by Todd Pletcher. Sunday Elegance, another Pletcher-trainee and the 2-1 favorite, finished fifth.

D J Lightning, who took a bad step upon entering the backstretch of the two-turn race, was pulled up and vanned off the track. Paint Me Red, who was running behind D J Lightning, was forced to go outside the injured horse.

Sunday Elegance set the pace through fractions of :23.55 and :48.13, and relinquished her lead around the far turn to Wonderwho’sbest, who held the advantage turning for home.

The winner was five lengths back in last, after three-quarters was run in 1:13.25. As Wonderwho’sbest tired in the final furlong, La Porta looked poised for victory, but Paint Me Red came with a late rush to collar her rival.

“She never really gave me the feeling that I had a lot of horse,” Dominguez said of the winner. “I really thought I didn’t have a chance when (D J Lightning) broke down in front of me, and I had to go around her. (Paint Me Red) surprised me off the turn, because I asked her and, all of a sudden, she was there.”

Paint Me Red returned $8.70 and covered the distance in 1:44.06 over a fast track. The exacta paid $73.50 and the trifecta returned $358.00.

“Horses either go one way or another coming up from Florida,” said winning trainer Gary Contessa. “Sometimes, they fall apart in the cold; other times, they excel. Obviously, she’s excelled. She has improved since the day we got her, and I just don’t think she was a Florida horse.”

Paint Me Red was making her first start in the Busanda for Contessa. The winner, a daughter of Red Bullet, is owned by Winning Move Stable, Celebrity Group Stable, et al. She was bred by Adena Springs.

Paint Me Red, a Florida-bred, won a maiden race and also finished second and third in a pair of non-graded stakes at Calder last fall.