Rated Fiesty smoked the field in 1:09.27 and remained unbeaten in three starts when she went wire-to-wire in Saturday's $100,000 Debutante (gr. III) (VIDEO) for 2-year-old fillies at Churchill Downs during the Louisville track’s final weekend of spring racing.
The Florida-bred daughter of Exchange Ratecame off a 4 1/2-length victory in the five furlong Kentucky Breeders’ Cup (gr. III) to gain an impressive 6 1/2-length win for partners Heiligbrodt Racing Stable and JMJ Racing Stable and trainer Steve Asmussen. It was her first time at the six furlong distance.
Under Shaun Bridgmohan, Rated Fiesty was first to the lead and wired the field, increasing her advantage when she hit the stretch. Steven Flint trainee Dreabons Legacy was clearly beaten for second as Bridgmohan put away his stick at the sixteenth pole and the filly cruised home under wraps.
"That's an awesome filly he's got," said Flint. "Somebody asked me where I was going next and I siad, 'Wherever Rated Fiesty isn't.' Steve's filly is obviously the best in the country right now and we've got some work to do, but our filly ran her heart out and she tried."
"The winner had a lot of horse," said jockey Miguel Mena, aboard Dreabons Legacy. "When Shaun asked her to run, she just took off. My filly was in the race and she tried very hard, she ran a good race."
“It’s no telling how good (Rated Fiesty) is,” said an impressed Bridgmohan. “She just ran 1:09 and I stopped riding at the sixteenth pole. She settled really nice on the lead, when I asked her to pick it up at the top of the stretch she did and was good all the way home."
The victory was number 43 during Churchill’ spring meet for Asmussen, who tied Dale Romans’ record at the Louisville track for most wins by a trainer during a spring season.
“The year has been outstanding on several fronts," said Asmussen. "Between tying the record here at Churchill and earning my first trainers’ title at Oaklawn this year, and then winning the Preakness, it’s just been a very special year.”
Of Rated Fiesty, Asmussen said, "She’s just a very fast filly and very nice to have, not real big, but extremely mighty. We raced her mother Fiesty Countess which makes it all that much better. She’s been very fast, everything she’s done she’s done quickly and easily. We actually had intentions of laying off of them today but once they broke that was out the window. All three of her races have looked like that and she went by the wire with good energy."
Asmussen said the filly would most likely stretch out to longer distances and will ship to Saratoga in the upcoming weeks.
"Her mother was very small in stature and did win stakes at a mile, and Exchange Rate has had some exceptional fillies over a distance, so obviously we’re hoping from this point we’ll be able to stretch her out," he said. "She’ll go up to Saratoga and most likely skip the Shuylerville. With the move and her not being big I think the sky’s the limit and taking this good a filly and having her around as long as possible is the main objective.”
“I don't know that we've had a winner here that was more impressive than her,” said co-owner William Heiligbrodt, who bred the filly and also bred and raced her dam. "I've never had a horse that tough for her size. Here mother was one of the toughest racehorses Steve has had for me, so it's great ot get a homebred that can come back and run like that."
Rated Fiesty ran fractions of :21.53, :45, and :56.72. She paid $3, $2.20, and $2.10. Dreabons Legacy paid $8.60 and $4.80 to place, while American County returned $4.20 to show.