Sayjay Racing, Greg Hall and Brooke Hubbard's Ms Bad Behavior was determined to have the lead at the start of Saturday's Grade 3 Ladies Turf at Kentucky Downs, and the 4-year-old daughter of Blame never relinquished it to win by about 2 1/2 lengths. Sent off at 7-1, Ms Bad Behavior was ridden over the one-mile firm, undulating turf course by Jose Ortiz for trainer Richard Baltas.
In her last start previous to Saturday's winning effort, Ms Bad Behavior bore out at the start in the $200,000 Grade 2 Royal Heroine Stakes at Santa Anita, to the point that jockey Mike Smith pulled her up. At Kentucky Downs, she exhibited her bad behavior again bearing out from her outside post position, but jockey Jose Ortiz let her have her way briefly over the wide grassy track and she soon found her way to the front of the field.
After dueling even-money favorite Mitchell Road for the early lead, Ms Bad Behavior was in command midway through the first turn. About a sixteenth of a mile into the long stretch, and with six furlongs in 1:11.08, Ms Bad Behavior led Mitchell Road by a length.
From there, Ms Bad Behavior stayed on with good courage to win under Ortiz, who picked up his third of four victories of the day. Mitchell Road ran on to snag second, with third- and fourth-finishers Simply Breathless and Storm the Hill separated at the finish by a nose, beaten 2 1/4 lengths.
“I tapped her on the shoulder right out of the gate and she got going pretty quickly,” Ortiz said. “And then when we got to the top of the hill, she put the ears up and was very relaxed going down the hill. I just let her be her, let her get comfortable. And when I asked her to go by the three-sixteenths, she just rebroke.”
Ortiz nodded and smiled when asked if he wanted to utilize her speed, based on how frontrunners had successfully fared over the course.
“Here it is up to the horse,” he said. “If they like it, you're going to run well. Otherwise, you have no shot. Because sometimes when they go down the hill, especially, they put on the brakes a little bit. They're not used to it.”
Capturing her first graded stakes, Ms Bad Behavior was sent off at 7-1 odds and paid $16.60 to win, $6.60 to place and $3.80 to show. The order of finish after the top four was Kallio, Sensitive, Viva Vegas and Lynne's Legacy. Coachwhip was scratched.
The final time of 1:35.23 was 23/100th of a second off the track record established in 1998 by Rob 'n' Gin.
Ms Bad Behavior, who as an Ontario-bred was not eligible for the Kentucky-bred purse supplements, earned $180,420 and now has made $416,356. She has four career wins from 17 starts, with seven seconds and three thirds. The winner — owned by Steve Young's Sayjay Racing, Greg Hall and Brooke Hubbard — is a 4-year-old daughter of Blame out of the Stormy Atlantic mare Cumulonimble and was bred in Ontario by Ron Clarkson.
Co-owner Greg Hall is from Tompkinsville in western Kentucky. He said after her step in her last race, Mike Smith pulled her up as a precaution but that she was fine.
Co-owner Brooke Hubbard said they'd take her to Keeneland for a likely race. She's entered in Fasig-Tipton Night of Stars sale in early November. Hall commented in the winner's circle, “But who knows? After this, maybe we'll change our mind.”
Trainer Richard Baltas is now three-for-four in Kentucky Downs stakes after winning two last year.
“We gave her a little break after the last race. She had run quite a bit so she needed a well-deserved great,” said assistant trainer Aime Dollase. “She came back, she trained great, her last few works had been super. Richard had a lot of confidence in her, as did the owners, and they decided to send her out here.
“We've always been trying to get her to that next level because it seemed like she'd always get caught and run second. Or she'd hit the board but get there a little late in that last part. But she came back great and has been training lights out. She's a good filly with a lot of heart and class and it showed today.”
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