Positive Spirit runs away with Aqueduct's Demoiselle Stakes

December 01, 2018 01:24pm
Positive Spirit_horse_Demoiselle 2018_615x400
Photo: Chelsea Durand/NYRA

Positive Spirit romped home to win Aqueduct’s Grade 2, $250,000 Demoiselle Stakes Saturday, picking up 10 points toward a start in the 2019 Kentucky Oaks.

She also became the third graded stakes winner for trainer Rodolphe Brisset, who went out on his own in 2017 after working as an assistant for Bill Mott.

The Demoiselle marked the second win in four starts for Michael Ryan's Positive Spirit, who ran at Saratoga and Keeneland before breaking her maiden at Churchill Downs Nov. 8.

“That’s what we were expecting, I guess,” Brisset said. “The filly really, really changed after the race at Keeneland. She got beat, but…the light bulb really went on even though she got beat.”

The Pioneerof the Nile filly sat off an easy pace set by Filly Joel with favored Enliven in second on the rail. Filly Joel set opening quarter-mile fractions in 24.16, 49.19 and 1:15.51. Jockey Manny Franco took advantage of his outside position aboard Positive Spirit and began to pull ahead in the turn for home. With no traffic ahead, the pair opened up by 10 1/2 lengths.

"I was just the pilot," Franco said. "She was dragging me around the entire way around. I just waited for the right moment to make a run and she was there for me."

Afleet Destiny rallied for a distant second, but could not close fast enough to threaten Positive Spirit. The winner completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:56.01. Filly Joel held for third over Molto Bella.

Brisset has a short break planned for Positive Spirit before she takes aim at the lilies in May.

"She's going to head to Payson Park mid next week," he said. "I think we'll give her 30 days. It's a good place to chill and we can come up with a plan next year.

"Who doesn't want to go to the Kentucky Oaks? Physically, she's a pretty big filly, but I'd love to see her develop even more in the transition between 2 and 3. Let's take it month by month."


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