Leave Me Alone Blossoms in Azalea Breeders' Cup

S. M. Mitchell Ranch's Leave Me Alone outgamed Hide and Chic in a stirring stretch drive to win Sunday's $300,000 $248,250 Azalea Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. III) at Calder Racecourse.

Ridden by Kent Desormeaux, Leave Me Alone assumed the early lead, getting the opening quarter mile in :21 2/5. Leaving the backstretch, Hide and Chic pushed through along the rail and had a head in front after a half-mile was completed in :44 4/5. With Hide and Chic and jockey Eddie Castro holding a half-length lead with an eighth of mile remaining, the two 3-year-old fillies engaged in a stretch duel. At the finish, only a nose separated the two, with Leave Me Alone the victor.

The winner, timed in 1:10 1/5 for six furlongs, paid $8.20, $3.80, and $3.00, with 2-1 favorite Hide and Chic worth $3.40 and $2.40. Midtown Miss finished third, 9 3/4 lengths behind the top pair, to return $5.40.

A California-bred daughter of Bold Badgett, Leave Me Alone was posting her first graded stakes victory with the Azalea win. Trained in Southern California by Eric Kruljac, Leave Me Alone was purchased for $35,000 at the 2003 California Thoroughbred Breeders Association's Del Mar Yearling Sale. She has now won four of seven starts with earnings of $336,370.

(Chart: Equibase)