After four runner-up finishes in stakes races earlier this year, Best Behavior would not be denied Dec. 26, holding off a challenge from 1-5 favorite Stonetastic in the stretch to register a clear victory in the $100,000 Sugar Swirl Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park.
Besides securing her first stakes win this season, Miller Racing's Best Behavior also nailed down the first graded stakes score of her career.
Best Behavior raced second early in the six-furlong test for fillies and mares while Dogwood Trail led through a quarter-mile in :22.42 with Stonetastic tracking in third. Best Behavior and John Velazquez would edge to the lead through a half-mile in :45.08 before opening a clear lead exiting the turn. They would turn back a challenge from Stonetastic, making her first start since an eighth-place finish in the TwinSpires.com Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (gr. I), in early stretch.
"It worked out perfect. Here's the thing, we expected those two horses (Stonetastic and Dogwood Trail) to go, but we wanted to come out running in case something changed, and it did right away, so I was glad to come out running and be where I was," Velazquez said. "Once I got to the half-mile pole it was very nice."
A 5-year-old Into Mischief mare, Best Behavior completed the six-furlong test in 1:09.69 while Stonetastic held second and You Bought Her rallied for third. The winner returned $12.20, $3.20, and $2.40 across the board while Stonetastic paid $2.20 to place and $2.10 to show. You Bought Her returned $3.20 to show.
Trainer Martin Wolfson claimed Best Behavior for Miller Racing in August 2014—the fouth time in her career she'd been claimed—and two starts later she won the Glass Slipper Stakes. This year she ended nearly a five-month break when she came back with a runner-up finish in the Rampart Stakes Dec. 12 at Gulfstream. Wolfson said that effort helped her deliver her best Saturday.
"She's really good right now," Wolfson said. "(The Rampart) really tightened her up. The five months off really helped her. She had a hard campaign, even though she didn't run a lot. She shipped back and forth to Maryland. There was a frozen track and I had to wait an extra week because they canceled. It was a tough winter for her and it took a toll on her."
Best Behavior is the first stakes winner out of the unraced Line In The Sand mare Queenship, who is a half sister to two stakes winners.