Shane's Girlfriend hasn't fired her best every time she makes it out for a race, but when she does the results are impressive.
After a pair of far-back finishes as the favorite in her first two starts as a 3-year-old, ERJ Racing, W.C. Racing, and Dennis O'Neill's Adios Charlie filly once again showed the talent she flashed as a juvenile July 6 in the $200,000 Iowa Oaks (G3) at Prairie Meadows.
Shipping into Iowa for the Southern California-based stable of trainer Doug O'Neill, Shane's Girlfriend overcame some trouble in the first turn of the 1 1/16-mile test Thursday night, settled behind the frontrunners under jockey Kyle Frey in the backstretch, and rallied in the stretch to win by 2 1/4 lengths over 50-1 longshot Babybluesdancing.
Shane's Girlfriend broke well from the inside post and for a moment looked like she'd take to the front, but Swing and Sway rushed up to take command. Chanel's Legacy also advanced quickly on the inside in the first turn, which appeared to cause Shane's Girlfriend's trouble, but the West Coast invader regrouped and stalked fractions of :24.12, :48.01, and 1:12.07 through six furlongs.
Shane's Girlfriend angled out three wide turning for home as Swing and Sway tired, powered past Chanel's Legacy just inside the furlong pole, and hit the wire in 1:43.94. Babybluesdancing, who raced in fourth early, closed well but was never a serious threat to the winner. Jordan's Henny closed from seventh to finish third.
"Around the first turn, it was a little shaky," Frey said of the 2016 Delta Downs Princess Stakes (G3) winner. "We broke quick, which I knew we were going to. Luckily the outside horses pressed the pace and they went away from us, but I did have a little trouble in that first turn ... to get her relaxed and off the bit. ... After that she just relaxed completely.
"From there I knew, as long as she had the turn of foot from the last time I worked her, it was over."
Favored Ever So Clever was last by eight lengths in the eight-horse field through a half-mile, made a wide move in the final turn, and flattened out in the stretch to finish sixth, 5 3/4 lengths behind the winner.
Bred in Florida, out of the Proud Citizen mare Western Tornado, Shane's Girlfriend now has three wins from five starts and $418,600 in earnings. She was a $95,000 purchase by Dennis O'Neill out of the Ocala Breeders' Sales June 2-year-olds and horses of racing age sale in 2016.