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LOUISVILLE, KY – While perhaps sporting the #7 saddle cloth as a sign, Lucky Seven Stable’s Behave Virginia surged between rivals in mid-stretch to win Saturday’s $150,000 Debutante Stakes at Churchill Downs.
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Behave Virginia broke from post 7 under Brian Hernandez Jr. at 4/1 odds and settled into a mid-pack groud-saving position as Wicked Halo outkicked Tizplenty and Mollie Kate for the early lead.
After posting swift opening fractions of :21.11 and :44.61, Wicked Halo rounded the far turn still in command but soon came under fire from the 7/5 favorite Ontheonesandtwos, and Behave Virginia soon joined the fight while between the two up front.
Taking the lead inside the 1/16 pole, the Kenny McPeek trainee crossed the wire first by 1 length while completing the 6-furlong dirt sprint in 1:09.83, marking the first time that the race was completed in under 1:10 flat since 2007.
“She’s a really talented filly to be able to sit behind some pretty good horses like that and win the way she did,” Hernandez Jr. said. “When the spot opened up, she went through like an old professional would. It’s a testament of how good she is. She answered a lot of questions today and we are very proud of her.”
Ontheonesandtwos took second by a 1/2-length over Wicked Halo, who was 12 1/4 lengths clear of her Steve Asmussen stablemate Tizplenty for third. Classiness, Catchusifyoucan, Compressed Energy, and an eased Mollie Kate completed the order of finish.
Cartel Queen and Mi Estrella scratched from the field of juvenile fillies.
Behave Virginia’s win was her second from as many starts following a local 5 3/4-length romp over a wet fast 5 1/2-furlong course on May 28. Still the only offspring of freshman sire Unified to find the winner’s circle to date, Behave Virginia – a $115,000 yearling purchase – has now bankrolled $147,698.
Behave Virginia returned $10.20 to win, $4.20 to place, and $3.20 to show. Ontheonesandtwos brought back $3.20 to place and $2.40 to show. Wicked Halo paid $2.80 to show.
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