Dazzle Me, hustled away off the rail by Shane Sellers, took command on the backstretch and never looked back, scoring a 6 1/2-length victory in the $300,000 Azalea Breeders' Cup (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies at Calder Race Course Saturday.
With a strong wind at her back, Dazzle Me blitzed the opening quarter in :21 1/5, settling down from there to win in a final time of 1:11 2/5 on a fast track. Although shortening stride in the final eighth, she was never challenged. Reforest, the 11-10 favorite ridden by Jerry Bailey edged past Boston Express and Eddie Castro to finish second by three-quarters of a length.
Sellers said he doubted that Dazzle Me was quick enough to control the pace.
"She outbroke the outside horse I've been running against at Churchill (Anna Em) and she is a very fast filly, and she couldn't stay with me early. She ran a big, big race today.
"She was stopping (late) and I thought the heat had something to do with it," Sellers added. "It's got me stopping. I thought somebody would come and catch me but they were stopping behind me. It's probably the wind more than the heat and a tiring racetrack."
Owned by Padua Stables and trained by Steve Asmussen, Dazzle Me was the sixth choice in the field of seven, sent off at odds of nearly 9-1.
"No, I really wasn't surprised to see her on the lead, Asmussen said. She's a really fast filly."
She was two lengths in front of Boston Express at the head of the stretch and drew away under pressure from Sellers, paying $19.80, $6.60 and $3.80.
Asmussen said he would point Dazzle Me to the Test (gr.I) at Saratoga July 31, a race he won last year with Lady Tak.
Dazzle Me, a Kentucky-bred gray/roan daughter of Tactical Cat
out of Social Girl, by Chief's Crown, has lost just once in five lifetime starts. She was coming off a three-length allowance win at Churchill Downs June 20. She earned $177,000 for the victory and has now banked $265,561.
Reforest, who was after her third straight win for trainer Babby Frankel, was compromised by a wide trip, but finished up well. She returned $3.40 and $2.60 and compelted a $73.40 exacta.
Boston Express moved up nicely to challenge on the turn after stalking from the rail, but tired. She was $4.40 to show.
Frenchglen, Chatter Chatter, Anna Em and French Village completed the order.