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HOT SPRINGS, AR – Novogratz Racing Stables’ Amy’s Challenge dueled with Shanghai Tariff early before dispatching of her and blowing away strongly to secure Saturday’s Spring Fever Stakes at Oaklawn Park.
Breaking from post 5 as the prohibitive 4/5 favorite under Alex Canchari, Amy’s Challenge dueled heads apart with Shanghai Tariff to her inside through an opening 1/4-mile timed in :22.20. Realizing she was ready to start trying, Amy’s Challenge pulled away at the 3/16 pole and was ridden out in hand. The McLean Robertson trainee crossed 8 1/4 lengths much the best in a final time of 1:03.10 for the 5 1/2-furlong sprint over the fast main track.
“I know you don’t think she’s rating, but she’s rating a little bit there (down the backstretch),” Robertson said. “She’s just sitting there. I was happy with that. She was second for a while and then went by and won. I’m glad she did that. It helped her heart, helped her confidence.”
Though no match for the winner, Shanghai Tariff was able to hold onto second late, taking it by a 1/2-length over Alex’s Bourbon and Treble, with only a neck separating the latter two. Swing and Sway, Proper Discretion, and Vertical Oak – who disappointed for the second straight time – completed the order of finish. Sister Nation was scratched.
Amy’s Challenge took her second straight stakes at Oalawn following a similar dominating performance in late January’s American Beauty Stakes and improved her record to 10-6-1-1. The multiple graded stakes-placed 4-year-old daughter of Artie Schiller has now earned $359,165 in her career.
“The reason for running back here was to have her win again,” Robertson said. “Obviously, winning’s good for horses like her. She runs so hard. It was pretty discouraging to watch her lose last year. You know you’ve got the best horse and you get beat, it’s like losing at the end of the game the way New Orleans (Saints) did. It kind of sucks.”
Amy’s Challenge returned $3.80 to win, $2.80 to place, and $2.20 to show. Shanghai Tariff brought back $3.40 to place and $2.60 to show, while Alex’s Bourbon paid $4.60 to show.
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