Grade I winning-filly Daisy Devine added Saturday’s 39th running of the Grade
III, $111,500 Cardinal Handicap to her résumé with a determined front-running
head victory over Julie’s Love-GB at Churchill Downs.
by Andrew McKeever and ridden by Calvin Borel, Daisy Devine broke
quick from the gate and dictated the pace through hand-timed fractions of
:23.69, :47.32, 1:11.82 and 1:35.42. She opened a six-length lead down the
backstretch along the hedge and dug in to meet the bid of Julie’s Love while
leaving the final turn. The two matched strides down the stretch of the Matt
Winn Turf Course but a stubborn Daisy Devine was resolute.
Downs’ teletimer malfunctioned during the race, but Daisy Devine was hand-timed
for the 1 1/8 miles on firm turf in 1:47.29, which would eclipse Bail Out
Becky’s 1996 stakes record of 1:47.81.
4-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Kafwain, who was the 122-pound starting
high weight, paid $6.20, $3.60 and $3.40 as the 2-1 second choice. Julie’s
Love-GB, a 6-1 shot ridden by Joe Rocco Jr. while toting 117 pounds,
returned $6.60 and $4.60. Last Full Measure, at 22-1 and 115 pounds with
Jon Court aboard, was another 3 ¼ lengths back in third and paid $6.60. Fugitive
Angel, 9-5 favorite Bizzy Caroline, Revelstroke, Indian
Pond, Affair Dabbler and La Cloche completed the order of
Cardinal, named for Kentucky’s state bird, was the fourth graded-stakes win of
Daisy Devine’s career. She won the Grade I Jenny Wiley at Keeneland in April
after collecting 2011 victories in the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks and Grade III
entered the Cardinal off a runner-up effort in the First Lady (GI) at Keeneland
on Oct. 6, which was her first race since a fifth-place finish in the Churchill
Distaff Turf Mile (GII) on the Kentucky Derby Day undercard.
triumph was worth $66,365, which boosted Daisy Devine’s earnings to $901,281.
Overall, she has won 8 of 15 starts with two seconds and one third. One of her
unplaced finishes came in the 2011 Kentucky Oaks (GI) when she finished seventh
Miller and McKeever, it was their first Churchill Downs stakes wins. Meanwhile,
Borel collected his 4,993rd career win. The three-time Kentucky Derby-winner is
attempting to become the 26th jockey to join the elite 5,000-win club.
CARDINAL HANDICAP QUOTES
McKeever, trainer of Daisy Devine, winner: “I didn’t know the fractions, but I
figured he (jockey Calvin Borel) knew what he was doing. I told him, ‘If you
have to go to the front, then go.’ She likes to stalk, really, but it doesn’t
make any difference because she’s such a good filly.
big relief is that she can go further than 1 1/16 miles. She came out of that
last race (First Lady at Keeneland) really good. It’s hard to bring a horse
back off such a big race like that, but she really bounced back. It was big.
She’s a heck of a filly.”
Q. When they crossed the line, did you think she won? “I knew she won.”
Borel, jockey on Daisy Devine, winner: “I thought (going to the lead) was
the right thing to do. She looked like the speed in the race. I was a little
concerned about whether she could get 1 1/8 miles. He (Andrew McKeever) didn’t
seem too concerned. He just told me to save a little pony for the final forty
or fifty yards.”
Q. What were you thinking when Julie’s Love-GB came running
at you? “I
was happy because she (Daisy Devine) is a filly that, if you challenge her,
she’ll dig in.
Q. Did you think you won the photo? “Yes. I knew I had
Motion, trainer of Julie’s Love-GB, runner-up: (via telephone) “I thought she
ran a huge race. I actually thought she had that filly’s number at about
the eighth-pole, but the winner was very game.
was very pleased. It hasn’t been an ideal week for her because she’s been
over at Keeneland. But, all things considered, I think she handled
everything really well.”
She’s taken some real steps forward for you … “She definitely
has. The only thing I don’t understand about her is that one poor race at
Belmont (a last-place finish in the GIII Noble Damsel on Sept. 15). I
have no comprehension of why she ran so poorly that day because every other
race she’s run has been extremely consistent. But, let’s face it: this
was a competitive enough Grade III to have run into a filly like that (Daisy
Rocco Jr., rider on Julie’s Love-GB, runner-up: “The winner was out
on the lead and I had to tuck-in or I was going to be hung four-wide on the
first turn. We wanted to be close, but on the backside there was
separation between them. I let her run up to put some pressure (on Daisy
Devine) and she was game all the way to the wire. We got past her –
briefly. But the other filly dug back in. But our filly ran really
McPeek, trainer of Bizzy Caroline, fifth as 9-5 favorite: “She didn’t fire,
and I’m not sure why. I was going between whether we wanted to go shorter
or longer. She’s run well at a lot of distances, but it seems like when
things go against her she doesn’t run as well. We’ll probably scope her
and check her out.”
Q: She has always run so well here, it was surprising that she didn’t show up… “She ran a similar
race in Chicago this summer in the Modesty (GIII at Arlington Park).
She’s just hit and miss, but she’s had a good season.”