Video: Florida Oaks (G3T)
Wide early after breaking from post 12, the 3-year-old daughter of Equiano tucked in to the rail during her first trip through the stretch and saved ground through both turns in the 1 1/16-mile turf test. Facing a wall of horses late in the final turn, jockey Julien Leparoux angled the filly outside in the stretch and surged to win by a half length ahead of fellow closer Enjoy Yourself.
"We've been working with her quite a bit and we always liked her," Leparoux said. "Today she broke good, and I took her back and saved ground around the turn. I knew if I found some room in the stretch, she was going to kick nice for me. We had questions before the race, because this was her first time to go that far, but she competed. She has some guts."
The winner reached the wire in 1:42.20, after longshot Valueable Charmer set fractions of :23.01, :46.99, before Conquest Bebop led through six furlongs in 1:10.72, while Baciami Piccola raced in ninth. Family Meeting rallied from eighth early to finish third, followed by Princess Princess in fourth and favored Ava's Kitten in fifth.
Bred in Great Britain by Tirnaskea Stud, out of the Danehill Dancer mare Lucky Legs, Baciami Piccola broke her maiden in Italy sprinting over the turf at first asking and ran third and second, respectively, against winners in Italy and then in France before shipping Stateside.
"She came over in mid-summer and was a little slow to get adjusted to the way we do things over here, so we sort of played with her through the fall," said trainer Brian Lynch, who saddled the filly in a race for the first time Saturday. "Julien and her started to hook up once we got to Palm Meadows, and he spent a lot of time with her. She is a very difficult filly to ride and can be temperamental, but they seemed to get along fantastic."