Gamine simply in a league of her own

Baffert filly demolishes her rivals in Filly & Mare Sprint.

  • Saturday 07 November
  • News
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Gamine blitzed the opposition with a brilliant performance in record time in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Keeneland.

The Bob Baffert-trained three-year-old showed an explosive turn of foot in the closing stages of the seven-furlong feature to leave her rivals in her wake.

Blessed with tremendous speed, Gamine normally front runs, but she was pressed straight from the gate by Serengeti Express, allowing John Velazquez to track the pace-setter and move form the rail to her outside.

Velazquez sat on her tail and waited for the right time to make his move on Gamine – who responded instantly.

The race was over in a matter of strides, with Gamine stretching clear and Serengeti Express just holding on to second place from Bell’s The One.

Baffert said: “I’m so proud and happy for this filly, I always thought she was the best in the land going around one turn and she’s proved it today.

“We knew Serengeti Empress had to get to the lead to be able to produce her best and we talked about the different scenarios, reaching the conclusion that Johnny could lay off the pace and get her to relax.

“I’d trained her to be able to do that and it worked out perfectly.”

He added: “She is the fastest filly I’ve every trained in my life. There is a race for her at Santa Anita, but I’m thinking off maybe giving her a break and looking at some of the races in New York over a slightly longer distance.”

Knicks Go ran his rivals into the ground with an incredible all-the-way win in the Dirt Mile.

A facile scorer on this course five weeks ago after 225 days off, Brad Cox’s four-year-old was in irresistible form as he blew away the opposition to set a new track record.

Complexity, Sharp Samurai and Mr Freeze tried to keep tabs on the leader but he found an extra gear at the top of the home straight and pulled away in the hands of Joel Rosario.

Jesus’ Team stayed on for second place with Sharp Samurai third.

It was a sixth Breeders’ Cup triumph for Cox and third at this year’s meeting. For Knicks Go, it is now two track records at Keeneland.

Cox said: “There were a few factors that made this race set up ideally for the horse.

“He’s a very aggressive individual and I told Joel to establish a good position straight away and then try to clear off on the backside, which is the way it all worked out.

“But strangely enough as recently as six weeks ago we never really had this race as our target, as there was no certainty he would get in and he’d had a setback (bone chips removed) after his first win.

“I’m so grateful to Breeders’ Cup for letting him run and with his speed around two turns and the short stretch coming home there were lots of things in his favour.”

Whitmore finally got his hands on the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at the fourth attempt with a clear-cut success.

Eighth in 2017, second in 2018 and third 12 months ago, Ron Moquett’s seven-year-old came good in the hands of Irad Ortiz Jr.

After Echo Turn and C Z Rocket help set the early fractions, Japanese raider Jasper Prince made his bid for glory, as did Empire Of Gold.

Whitmore got his chance when switched from the rail to lead inside the final furlongs, landing the spoils by three and a quarter lengths from C Z Rocket. Firenze Fire was a further three and a half lengths back in third place.

Moquett said: “This shows all the work my team has put in pays off. They are like a village, they do the right thing, keep trying hard and sometimes the right things happen.

“I’m so proud of them.”

Gamine simply in a league of her own
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