Lexington, KY --- Precocious Beauty made it six wins in a row in impressive fashion, winning the third and final division of the International Stallion Stake for 2-year-old filly pacers with a world-record-equaling 1:50.1 mile Friday afternoon at The Red Mile in Lexington.
The time equaled the fastest mile ever by a 2-year-old filly pacer, set last season by I Luv The Nitelife at Mohawk Racetrack. I Luv The Nitelife is this season’s top 3-year-old filly pacer, with 12 wins in 13 starts.
|Nigel Soult photo|
|Precocious Beauty equaled the world record for a 2-year-old filly on a mile track with a 1:50.1 score.|
Jim Avritt Sr. of Lebanon, Ky., bred and owns Precocious Beauty, who has won seven of nine starts. Her wins include the $428,450 She’s A Great Lady Stakes and divisions of the Bluegrass, Champlain and Eternal Camnation stakes. The filly is trained by Gregg McNair and driven by his son, Doug McNair.
In the $75,300 International Stallion division, I Need Hotstuff took the early lead, but McNair pushed forward from post seven with Precocious Beauty until taking the top spot in a :27.2 first quarter.
From there, Precocious Beauty set fractions of :54.4 and 1:22.3 and rebuffed a first-over challenge from Uffizi Hanover on her way to a 1-1/2 length victory. Uffizi Hanover finished second and Lasting Appeal was third.
“I didn’t want to get stuck in traffic or anything in the back,” Doug McNair said. “I floated out and guys were just getting organized so I revved it up into the first turn and she did everything from there.
“She’s versatile. There are a lot of good horses out there and very few great ones and she’s definitely one of the great ones. It’s great to be down here and be part of (the Grand Circuit) and to get to drive a filly like that is the cherry on top.”
Precocious Beauty is a daughter of stallion Art Major out of Avritt’s mare Precious Beauty. She is a half-sister to millionaire Sportswriter, who was named harness racing’s best 2-year-old male pacer in 2009 and won the North America Cup at age 3 before being retired because of injury.
“I started out over 50 years ago in this business with a $300 mare, and we’ve come from there,” Avritt said. “I could get used to this.”
"My dad was high on her all winter," added Doug McNair. "The first time I drove her was when she qualified and I couldn't really tell about how good she was but I knew in her first start.
"She is very talented, but lazy. She like to wait on them. Today she had her head to the side and did the same thing, so you have to watch her but she is a very nice horse."
Nigel Soult photo My Lady Day survived a five-horse photo to win the second division in 1:52.1.
My Lady Day, sent off at 8-1 odds, and driver Andy Miller burst from the gate to grab the lead before the first turn, but A La Notte Hanover took over the top spot prior to reaching the opening quarter in :28.1.
As the field reached the half-mile in :56, A La Notte Hanover remained in first and My Lady Day was second, but both were facing pressure to their outside from Rosie De Vie and Anegada.
A La Notte Hanover led the group to three-quarters in 1:24.2, with Rosie De Vie a first-over second, My Lady Day third on the rail and Anegada fourth from second over.
The fillies fanned across the track in the stretch and Instant Respect joined the fray to make it a five-horse battle. Miller found room late with My Lady Day as the duo squeezed between A La Notte Hanover and Rosie De Vie to get the win.
“I always have a little confidence, but it was a good race and at the wire there were five of them across and I couldn’t separate them,” Miller said. “It was very tight until right down late and then I got my wheels pushed through. She went a really good effort today. She put her nose out today.”
It was My Lady Day’s first win in eight starts. She is trained by Joe Holloway and owned by Val D’Or Farms. A daughter of stallion Western Ideal out of the mare Economic Clout, My Lady Day is a full sister to stakes-winner Twist N Clout. She was a $75,000 purchase at the Lexington Selected Sale.
"That was really exciting," said Holloway. "You don't see races like that very often.
"We always knew she had plenty of pace and that was never a problem. She was lightening up the last eighth of a mile and Kentucky has that new rule on Lasix so I figured why not try her on it? She definitely improved.
"She might race once more this year, we will see. I can't take her to the Breeders Crown because PA allows Lasix for 2-year-old Thoroughbreds but not for Standardbreds. So we are going to keep her on the Lasix and just race her in the states that allow it. She is sound and doesn't have a breathing problem."
In the $74,300 opening division, even-money favorite Allstar Rating and driver Yannick Gingras won by three-quarters of a length over longshot Barefoot Beauty in 1:51.2. Beach Gal was third, edging locked-in Beach Body in the show photo.
Beach Body led the field to the first quarter in :28.1, but Gingras moved Allstar Rating from second to the front before hitting the halfway point in :55.2.
Barefoot Beauty, sent off at 34-1 odds, launched a first-over attack, with Beach Gal following her cover, but no one was able to get by Allstar Rating the rest of the way.
“She’s learning,” Gingras said. “She was a little bit green on the front today, but I was happy with the way she raced. If they were moving along faster (early in the race) I would have been content to sit there, but you can’t get away with easy fractions. I thought on paper it was a two-horse race, so I thought if I could steal it, I might as well take it.”
Allstar Rating has won two of four starts and finished second in the other two for trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and JJK Stables. A daughter of stallion Four Starzzz Shark out of the mare Credit Rating, Allstar Rating’s mother is a half-sister to millionaire Artiscape.
In her previous start, Allstar Rating finished second to She’s Da Bomb in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes.
“She raced really good last week, but she was locked in,” Gingras said. “It was really a good start for her. They said if she raced good today that she was going to go next week (to the Breeders Crown), so I’m assuming it’s all systems go.
"She is very talented," added Gingras. "She is also very sensitive for a Four Starzzz Shark.
"She was his best baby all winter but she got hurt. It wasn't anything serious but it might have been a blessing because it gave her more time."
-- Kimberly French contributed to this report