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SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Michael Lund Petersen’s 2020 champion female sprinter Gamine added yet another prestigious title to her gaudy resume when dancing up front from gate to wire in Saturday’s $500,000 Ketel One Ballerina Handicap (G1) at Saratoga.
The Ketel One is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with Gamine receiving an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Del Mar this November.
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Gamine sprung from the rail under regular rider John Velazquez as the odds-on 1/5 favorite in the field of seven distaffers sprinting 7 furlongs on the fast Saratoga main track.
Estilo Talentoso hit the gate at the start but soon recovered and applied pressure down the backstretch as Gamine drifted out several lanes as the field exited the chute onto the oval.
Gamine remained a handful of lanes off the rail entering the stretch, and while she didn’t display her usual jet-engine burst, the Bob Baffert trainee nonetheless held safely to win by 1 3/4 lengths in 1:21.61.
“We were down in the one hole, so you have to break and go from there,” Baffert assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes said. “She handled the gate well, broke well, and Johnny put her in the race. … (They were gaining on her) slightly, but once Johnny got her to switch leads, I wasn’t really concerned. They were moving but we were still running.”
After tracking from third early, Lake Avenue advanced in the far turn as Estilo Talentoso dropped out but could not make up headway on the eventual winner and settled for second.
Ce Ce, Sconsin, Estilo Talentoso, Truth Hurts, and Casual completed the order of finish.
Gamine’s win was the ninth of her 10-race career and increased the 4-year-old Into Mischief filly’s career earnings to $1,681,500 – a lofty number for any horse, yet still not equal to her $1.8 million price tag as an unraced juvenile.
“She is one amazing horse. They don’t come around like her very often, and I treat her like that, too,” Petersen said. “You never know when it will be the last time you’re going to see them like this so you just enjoy every race like it’s going to be the last win we get. She is very special.”
Gamine returned $2.70 to win, $2.30 to place, and $2.10 to show. Lake Avenue brought back $7.10 to place and $3.70 to show. Ce Ce paid $2.80 to show.
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