There has never been a point in Big World's career when she didn't give an admirable account of herself in an on-track test.
In her 11 starts the daughter of Custom for Carlos has never been out of the top three, and when the masses descended upon her in the stretch of the $300,000 La Troienne Stakes Presented by Spirited Funds (G1) at Churchill Downs May 5, the gritty bay filly fought back with her best response yet.
In her first try against top-level company, the Tom Amoss-trained Big World showcased her improving ability and mettle, turning back Romantic Vision in deep stretch to capture the 1 1/16-mile test by 1 1/4 lengths on the undercard of the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1).
Under her previous trainer, Tony Dutrow, Big World hinted at what she was capable of, most notably when she captured the 2015 edition of the Tempted Stakes (G3) in her fourth start. Since being transferred to Amoss by owner Maggie Moss last year, the solidly built filly quietly racked up three wins on the Louisiana circuit and headed into the La Troienne off a win in a 1 1/16 mile allowance race at Oaklawn Park March 30.
"I can't thank Maggie enough to have the opportunity with this filly," Amoss said. "She's responsible for buying this filly. We just put her in the right spots. Maggie couldn't be here, but I know she would say this is one of the biggest moments of her career."
The indicators that Big World was ready for something more were not false touts. Breaking from post 3 under Florent Geroux, the 4-year-old filly put herself at the head of the eight-horse procession, cutting fractions through the first half-mile of :23.75 and :48.28 with Streamline tracking her in an outside path in second.
Big World held her advantage coming off the final turn, but looked a handful of strides from being swallowed up by a four-horse charge making their run up the outside lanes. When Geroux asked for more with right-handed urging, his mount dug in and found another gear as she edged away late to stop the teletimer in 1:44.91 over a sealed, sloppy track.
"I saw some speed in the race, so I left it up to Florent," Amoss said. "He made the front end and was able to control it up there, and that made all the difference."
Sent off at 7-1 odds, Big World paid $16, $7.60, and $5 across the board. Romantic Vision edged Streamline by three-quarters of a length for second, with Paid Up Subscriber fourth and Factory of Faith rounding out the top five.
Bred in Louisiana by Curt Leake and Elm Tree Farm, Big World became the first grade 1 winner for her sire, who stands at Clear Creek Stud for a fee of $3,500. She improved her record to seven wins from 11 starts with $608,820 in earnings. She was purchased by Patrice Miller as agent for $98,000 at the 2014 Ocala Breeders' Sales August yearling auction.