ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL – Dom Felipe LLC’s Dona Bruja turned in an effort that stamped her as one to watch in the filly and mare turf division, taking Saturday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Modesty Handicap at Arlington International Racecourse.
The Modesty was the second of four Grade 3 stakes offered on the Ride to the Million card presented by Miller Lite. It was preceded by the American Derby and followed by the Stars and Stripes and the Arlington Handicap.
Trained by Ignacio Correas IV, Dona Bruja was making just her second North American start on Saturday after capturing the Grade 3 Mint Julep Handicap at Churchill Downs on June 10. Ridden by Declan Cannon, she settled near the back of the pack behind splits of :24.59, :50.37, and 1:14.08 set by One Liz before angling out as she entered the stretch. Confidently handled by a motionless Cannon until inside the 1/8 pole, Dona Bruja darted clear once shaken for a deceptively easy 1-length score in a final time of 1:55.75 for the 1 3/16-miles turf trip.
“I had a lot of confidence in this filly,” Cannon said. “All I wanted to do was get her settled into a nice rhythm, and she relaxed really nice for me, more so today than she has before. She’s very professional.”
The Chris Block-trained Prado’s Sweet Ride finished well up the rail to secure second under Carlos Marquez, Jr., crossing 1 3/4 lengths clear of Time and Motion, who easily held third under Florent Geroux for trainer Jimmy Toner. Bonita Cat, Daring Duchess, and One Liz completed the running order. La Piba and Stormin Elle scratched.
“I had the best trip in the house, I saved all the ground and got through,” Marquez said. “I can’t take nothing away from her, she tried very hard and gave me everything.”
Bet as a two-horse race between the winner and Phillips Racing Partnership’s Grade 1 winner Time and Motion, the pair went to post as joint 1.10-1 favorites.
“Great trip; unfortunately, they weren’t going very fast, but my filly kept going on,” Geroux said “The winner was behind me, and when she came by, it was just too much.”
Dona Bruja won eight of her 10 starts in her native Argentina prior to moving stateside for her Mint Julep score. Saturday’s win was the tenth in 12 career tries, and her only 2 losses were second-place efforts. Her Modesty earnings of $59,400 built her career bankroll to $340,168.
“I don’t know what’s the limit, but I have to recognize the perfect ride Declan gave this filly, it was a great ride,” Correas IV said. “I don’t know if we’ll find (her) ceiling; hopefully, we never find it.”
Dona Bruja returned $4.20, $3.20, and $2.20. Prado’s Sweet Ride brought back $9.20 and $4.20, while Time and Motion paid $2.20 to show.