DEL MAR, CA – Bad Boy Racing’s Danuska’s My Girl returned to the winner’s circle with a triumphant gate-to-wire score in Sunday’s $100,000 Rancho Bernardo Handicap (G3) at Del Mar.
Breaking from post 9 under Geovanni Franco at 6/1 odds, Danuska’s My Girl took control and was able to set tempered opening fractions of :22.17 and :45.18. After dueling with Best of Me down the back and through the far turn, Danuska’s My Girl was able to begin inching away at the top of the stretch.
The 3/5 favorite Anonymity came charging with a late push, but Danuska’s My Girl proved game and refused to give in. Running strongly through to the wire, the Jerry Hollendorfer trainee crossed a 1/2-length ahead of Anonymity in a final time of 1:17.13 for the 6 1/2-furlong event over the fast main track.
“She felt great all the way,” Franco said. “She broke so sharp and then she slowed it down for me that second 1/4 (mile). I knew someone was coming late, but it didn’t matter. I kept riding as hard as I could. She likes it here at Del Mar. So do I.”
Anonymity’s bid proved to be just a touch too short, but she was 2 3/4 lengths clear of the rest of the pack. Lady Ninja rallied late and snuck past Best of Me for third by a nose, while Zusha was another nose behind them in fifth. Yuvetsi, Kram, Exuberance, and Show It N Moe It completed the order of finish.
Danuska’s My Girl’s win was her fifth in her last six starts, with her lone loss coming last out in the Great Lady M Stakes (G3). The 5-year-old daughter of Shackleford improved her career mark to 16-6-2-4 with $330,810 earned.
The victory was Hollendorfer’s first in a stakes since the Hall of Fame trainer was asked to vacate his Santa Anita Park stalls back in June.
“It has been a long time coming, but we finally got one,” Hollendorfer said. “I’m doing the best I can, and at least some things are working out, like winning this race for Kelly Mitchell. It feels good. In the race, we thought we’d get a little more pressure from (Best of Me), but we broke so fluid that it wasn’t that bad. (Franco) actually won the race in the second 1/4 when he got to slow it down a little bit.”
Danuska’s My Girl returned $14.20 to win, $4.40 to place, and $3.20 to show. Anonymity brought back $2.40 to place and $2.10 to show, while Lady Ninja paid $2.60 to show.