HOT SPRINGS, AR – Novogratz Racing Stables Inc.’s Amy’s Challenge continued her penchant for triumphing in tough stretch battles, necking out the favored Mia Mischief to win Saturday’s $125,000 Dixie Belle Stakes at Oaklawn.
Hitting the gate and briefly bobbling out of post 6 under regular rider Jareth Loveberry, Amy’s Challenge quickly recovered to closely stalk Mia Mischief’s early pace of :21.48 and :44.49. Heads apart at the top of the stretch and multiple lengths clear of their foes, the two fillies locked into a match race that lasted the length of the stretch. In the final yards, Amy’s Challenge dug in deep and inched forward enough to win the 6-furlong event in a final time of 1:10.61.
“She took a little bit of a bobble out of the gate, just a little slip,” Loveberry said. “It actually made it better because she got to sit and relax off it just a little bit. I just sat off of it, kind of let the speed go with each other, and sat right there. It kind of dictated where we wanted to be. She is all heart down the lane, that horse. Head to head, she dug through and finished strong.”
Secret Passion spent the race chasing the top two in vain, finishing 5 lengths back in third. It was another 4 3/4 lengths to Getupbabygetup in fourth, with Vision of Justice and Thoughtless Doll completing the order of finish. Minit To Stardom was scratched.
Undefeated in three career starts, Amy’s Challenge increased her career earnings to $136,800. The McLean Robertson-trained daughter of Artie Schiller could make her next start in the $125,000 Martha Washington Stakes here on February 10.
“It looked like she bobbled a little the second jump, and just kind of ‘Oomph,’ and then natural speed put her right there,” Robertson said. “I thought Loveberry gave her a great ride. He waited right until the end.”
Amy’s Challenge returned $4.80 to win, $2.60 to place, and $2.20 to show. Mia Mischief brought back $2.20 to place and $2.10 to show, while Secret Passion paid $4.40 to show.