ARCADIA, CA – Though only 3 years old, Biddy Duke displayed the heart of a grizzled vet with an all-out winning effort against older rivals in Saturday’s $100,000 Senator Ken Maddy Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park.
Biddy Duke broke like a shot from post 2 under Juan Hernandez at 9/1 0dds and went straight to the lead, outhustling Jo Jo Air for sole command before posting opening fractions of :21.80 and :44.60.
Straightening for home with her early advantage all but gone, Biddy Duke dug in gamely when Jo Jo Air met her gaze near the 1/8 pole and repelled bids from both that foe and a rail-skimming Aqua Seaform Shame.
Fighting her way back ahead in the shadow of the wire, the Doug O’Neill trainee crossed a head past Jo Jo Air while completing the 5 1/2-furlong firm turf sprint in 1:02.03.
“She’s really fast and she’s one of the smallest horses I’ve ever ridden,” Hernandez said. “I knew we were going fast, but she was comfortable, so I let her go. When she saw that other filly come to us, she really fought back. She’s small, but she’s got a big heart.”
An Eddie Surprise, the second of three O’Neill stable entries, necked out Aqua Seaform Shame for third.
The 4/5 favorite Magic At Midnight and the third O’Neill runner Lakerball completed the order of finish.
Zee Drop was scratched.
Biddy Duke’s win was her first at the stakes level and improved her overall record to 20-7-5-3 with $280,332 in lifetime earnings. O’Neill and owner Joseph Besecker claimed the Bayern filly for $40,000 in May, and she’s responded with a 6-3-1-2 record since joining the barn.
“This filly has been so honest ever since we got her,” said assistant trainer Leandro Mora. “Juan said she never quit, and when he asked her, she just came back, and that’s all you see.”
Biddy Duke returned $20.20 to win, $8 to place, and $4.80 to show. Jo Jo Air brought back $4 to place and $3 to show, while An Eddie Surprise paid $4 to show.