Bien Nicole cruises to victory in the WinStar Galaxy.

Bien Nicole cruises to victory in the WinStar Galaxy.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Bien Nicole Stars in WinStar Galaxy

Kristine and John Richter's homebred Bien Nicole jumped to the lead and never looked back in a dominating performance to win the $500,000 WinStar Galaxy (gr. IIT) for fillies and mares at Keeneland Sunday.

The chestnut 5-year-old Bien Bien mare, ridden by Don Pettinger, went 1 3/8 miles in 1:55 4/5 while easing to a 7 1/4-length win over Approach and jockey Jerry Bailey. New Economy, with Rene Douglas aboard was third in the six-horse field, 8 1/2 lengths behind the winner.

"With her you just get her to coast along as best you can," Pettinger said. "I thought somebody might tag along a little bit. When I asked her to run, she still had something left."

Donnie Von Hemel trains the Kentucky bred, who was produced by the Flying Paster mare Dana Nicole.

After establishing the lead, Bien Nicole, the 3-2 favorite, pulled off to a huge lead after posting a moderate opening quarter mile of :25. She went :48 4/5 and 1:12 4/5. After six furlongs, she was leading by about 11 lengths over Wonder Again.

"That was amazing," exclaimed Von Hemel. "I was a little worried when we were in front by 12 because you never know if they are going to keep going. That was an amazing race."

Bien Nicole was coming off a second-place showing behind Heat Haze in the Beverly D (gr. IT) at Arlington on Aug. 16. She was second in the Modesty (gr. III) at Arlington prior to that.

"If everything comes back OK, the plan is to take her on to the Breeders' Cup and we'll see if we can try out that grade I competition again," Von Hemel said.

She notched her 12th win in 24 career outings Sunday. The $300,000 winner's share upped her career earnings to $1,029,580.

The winner paid $5, $3.40 and $2/40. Approach returned $6.60 and $3.60. New Economy's show price was $3.80. The $2 exacta was worth $36.

Wonder Again and Volga, both sent off at 5-2, were next, with Apasionata Sonata last.

(Chart, Equibase)