Magnolia Jackson wore down the even-money choice Any Limit after fractions of :22 2/5 and :45 to take a clear lead in the stretch. But leaving the eighth pole in the seven-furlong event, Magnolia Jackson, ridden by Alan Garcia, began to tire and drifted out a bit to open up an opportunity for the rallying Carmandia, who broke slowly. The 5-year-old Wild Rush mare won going away in a time of 1:22 4/5. Magnolia Jackson held off Swap Fliparoo and Eibar Coa for second by a half-length. Only five competed.
Carmandia trailed for the first half-mile as Magnolia Jackson led Any Limit in the brisk pace duel. Enjoying a rail trip, she responded when called upon by Luzzi in the stretch to draw away in the final stages.
Winner of the First Flight Handicap (gr. II) at seven furlongs over the Aqueduct main track last November, Four Roses Thoroughbreds' Carmandia had one previous start in 2007 for trainer Richard Dutrow Jr., finishing fourth after a wide trip in Laurel Park's Barbara Fritchie Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) Feb. 17. She improved her career record to 6-4-2 in 19 starts. She earned $94,140 for the victory and has banked $376,213. Carmandia has won three of four starts at Aqueduct and four of six at the distance.
“I think the key was that she was fresh, she likes the track and she likes seven-eighths,” said Dutrow. “Those three things make her tough. She was fresh going into the First Flight last year."
"We went down to Laurel and weren’t too upset because we won the race anyway (with Oprah Winney). I was saying to Mike, `It didn’t look like she was comfortable today.’ I thought we were in trouble, but she kept digging.”
Buckram Oak Farm bred Carmandia, who is out of the Mining mare Her Secret.
Sent off as the second choice, she paid $7.30, $4.50 and $3.30. Magnolia Jackson, who won last year's Bed o' Roses, returned $6.90 and $4.60. Swap Fliparoo was $3.30 to show.
Dominant at Gulfstream Park this season, the Allen Jerkens-trained Any Limit was coming off a pair of grade III victories and a close second to Sweet Fervor in the Shirley Jones Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) in her most recent start. She dropped back – her saddle began to slip at the five-eighths pole – to finish fourth, more than six lengths behind the winner. Livermore Valley trailed.
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