Feverish led the field around the first turn and into the backstretch before hooking up with favored Gourmet Girl for a half-mile duel to the wire en route to winning the $150,000 Bayakoa Handicap (gr. II) by a head, Saturday at Hollywood Park. On a fast track, Feverish completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.26 under jockey Eddie Delahoussaye.
Delahoussaye sent Feverish to the lead from post nine and set fractions of :23.52 and :46.55 while pressured from the outside by 46-1 longshot Cookin Vickie. Gourmet Girl moved up a along a gap on the inside to challenge Gourmet Girl as they approached the second turn. From there the two raced heads apart to the wire, with Gourmet Girl wresting a short lead after six furlongs run in 1:10.55. Feverish fought her way back to the lead prior to running a mile in 1:35.61 and held her advantage to the wire.
"That was a real horse race," said Delahoussaye. "I reached back, hit my mare and she didn't respond. So I went hand riding, and she just dug in again. I'm glad I didn't hit her again, because she probably would have stopped. Some horses need it, and evidently she did not."
Gourmet Girl finished second, a length ahead of Lazy Slusan. Critikola finished fourth in her American racing debut, followed by Speaking of Time, Kentucky Storm, Saudi Poetry, Cookin Vickie, and Magic Code.
Feverish (Pirate's Bounty--Blonde Fever, by Flying Paster) was bred in California by her owners, Mr. and Mrs. Martin J. Wygod. She earned $90,000 for the win, her 11th in 32 career starts. The Bayakoa marks the first graded stakes win for the Dan L. Hendricks-trained Feverish. Previously, she won the listed Las Madrinas Handicap, two renewals of the E.B. Johnston Stakes, and the California Cup Matron Handicap, among others. Since winning her second E.B. Johnston Stakes in September, the 5-year-old mare finished second in three consecutive races, including the California Cup Matron.
The second choice in the field of nine, Feverish returned $9, $4 and $2.60. Gourmet Girl returned $4.20 and $3.40. Lazy Slusan was worth $4.40 to show. The $1 exacta paid $19.70. (Chart, Equibase)