Last at the three-eighths pole, 18-1 outsider Miraculous Miss blew past her nine rivals in the stretch to win Sunday's $150,000 Stonerside Forward Gal (gr. II) for 3-year-old fillies going away at Gulfstream Park.
The late-running sprinter used similar tactics to win the Valley Stream (gr. III) at Aqueduct in November, but was ignored in the betting Sunday after finishing fifth of six in Gulfstream's Old Hat (gr. III) on a sloppy sealed track one month ago.
Ridden by Jeremy Rose for trainer Steve Klesaris, who owns the chestnut daughter of Mr. Greeley
in partnership with Puglisi Stables, Miraculous Miss won by 1 3/4 lengths and clocked 1:22 3/5 for the seven furlongs on a fast track.
"There's no doubt it was the track last time," Klesaris said. "We felt confident to go in this one knowing she'd be able to come from off the pace with 11 horses in front of her.
"As far as her best distance, we don't know that yet," he added. "She's picked up another furlong every race, except for the slop race, and she's answered the bell every time."
India finished a half-length in front of the previously undefeated Misty Rosette, a four-length winner of the Old Hat, for second.
Miraculous Miss was able to take back as Vestrey Lady forced her way to the front through an opening quarter mile of :22 flat. Misty Rosette, ridden by Sebastian Madrid, broke on the lead and soon was in front again, pulling ahead by two lengths while clicking the half-mile in :44 2/5, and she continued to lead into the stretch. With a furlong to go, India and John Velazquez - prominently placed throughout - drew even and the two fillies appeared to be headed for a duel to the wire.
But Miraculous Miss, who launched her bid for Rose coming off the turn after steadying in traffic near the quarter pole, rallied gamely down the center of the track to sweep by with ease.
"They went pretty fast the first part of it, so at about the five-sixteenths pole, I just swung around all the horses in front of me," Rose said. "I thought I had enough horse to make it, because they went so quick, and she did fine."
Joint Effort, the Sunshine Millions Oaks winner Jan. 28 seeking her third straight win, was the slight 5/2 favorite but was not a factor, finishing seventh after a wide trip.
Miraculous Miss, who won all three of her starts at 2, has now captured four races in five tries and increased her earnings to $207,120. Bred in Kentucky by Dr. Akijiro O'Hara, the winner was produced by the Silver Deputy
mare No Small Miracle and was purchased at auction last May for $350,000.
She paid $38.60, $11.60, and $7.40, combining with India ($4.40, $3.40) for a $250.20 exacta. Misty Rosette ($4.20) rounded out a $603.30 trifecta and the superfecta, with A Sea Trippi finishing fourth, was worth $8,256.50.
Next came Sweet Fervor, Lake Alice, Joint Effort, Miss Shop, Vestrey Lady, and Original Spin. Sin McCool scratched.