Rebounding from a third-place finish last time out on a sloppy track in the Feb. 10 Martha Washington Stakes, the 3-year-old Violence filly settled into second as Amy's Challenge shot out of the gate to grab the early lead through fractions of :23.27 and :46.02 for the first half-mile, while she held an eight-length advantage. The winner, ridden patiently by Richard Eramia, was angled five-wide into the stretch and rallied in the final strides to gain the advantage by 1 3/4 lengths over the early leader at the wire. She completed the 1 1/16-mile race in 1:44.19 over a fast track.
"She definitely broke better today," said winning trainer Donnie Von Hemel. "And we saw the filly we expected to see last time. You can probably blame the track a little bit for last time. She wasn't herself from the get-go that day for whatever reason. Hopefully she's back on track."
"I saw a lot of speed on paper," Eramia said. "I was waiting until the last quarter, and she responded really well. I really like this filly. She has a lot of talent. Last time she didn't like the racetrack, because it was so sloppy, but today she did what she was supposed to do. She ran like she was supposed to last time."
Amy's Challenge, who was making her first start around two turns for trainer Mac Robertson, earned 20 points toward a spot in the starting gate for the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1).
"She's still learning," jockey Jareth Loveberry said of the previously undefeated Amy's Challenge. "She ran three of those sprints so fast and wouldn't quite settle. If I could have gotten that second quarter just a second slower, I think she keeps going. But she was just kind of excited first time running two turns. She ran hard even running for home. She was tired, but they came to her, and she dug in and tried. That's all I can ask for her."
"She got a little keyed up in front of the crowd," Robertson added. "Her other races have been sprints, so she's been on the backside where it's quiet. I noticed in the post parade she broke out (in a sweat) more than I would have liked. She was pretty pumped. She came to run. She needs to relax a little better than that to run two turns. I was pleased with her effort."
Bred in Pennsylvania by Pewter Stable, out of the Ghostzapper mare Peggy Ring, Cosmic Burst was a $25,000 purchase by Stockseth from Select Sales' consignment to the 2016 Keeneland September yearling sale. She has won four of her six starts and earned $267,080.