Stonestreet Stables' Cavorting hasn't quite looked like her grade I-winning self in two starts following the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I), but the Bernardini filly found her best stride again May 14 in the $250,000 Ruffian Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont Park.
With jockey Javier Castellano aboard for the first time, Cavorting tracked the early leaders comfortably in fourth, moved up three wide in the turn, and left her rivals in the dust exiting the bend to win with ease by five lengths.
"It was a perfect trip," Castellano said. "We drew a perfect picture before the race. We discussed the race and tried to plan it. I never rode the filly before and I've been studying a lot all week since the overnights came out. We drew the inside post, which was perfect for her to settle and make one run."
Off at 5-2, the Kiaran McLaughlin-trained victress paid $7.80, $3.30, and $2.50 across the board. Carrumba, the even-money top choice, brought 2.60 and $2.10, and Spelling Again delivered $2.80 to show.
Grade III winner Calamity Kate set the pace in the one-turn-mile Ruffian, ticking off fractions of :23.75, :47.05, and 1:10.60 through six furlongs before tiring to finish fourth. Cavorting finished off the mile in 1:34.05. Grade I winner Include Betty finished an even fifth, followed by Welcome Aboard, to complete the order of finish.
"Her stretch run was phenomenal. I loved it," Castellano said. "Those kinds of horses you look for all year round and you don't find many special like her. The way she did it today was amazing."
It was the first win for Cavorting since she claimed three straight stakes in the Jersey Girl, Test (gr. I), and Prioress (gr. II) from June to September of 2015. She then finished fourth in the Filly & Mare Sprint, third in the La Brea (gr. I), and second in the Distaff Handicap (gr. III) last time out April 17.
"The key was sitting back and able to make a run, which she did," McLaughlin said. "Her start in California (the La Brea), I was a little disappointed in, and in her last race, a very fast filly beat us and we had kind of a funny trip. This was a big race. It gives us more confidence now."
The Ruffian victory made Cavorting a millionaire, pushing her earnings to $1,128,000 off a 6-1-1 record from 11 starts. Bred in Kentucky by Swettenham Stud, out of the Carson City mare Promenade Girl, Cavorting was $360,000 purchase by Stonestreet at the 2012 Keeneland November breeding stock sale.