LEXINGTON, KY – Michael Lund Petersen’s Gamine kicked off the Breeders’ Cup Saturday action by scorching the Keeneland dirt with a record-shattering effort in Saturday’s $1 million Filly & Mare Sprint (G1).
Gamine broke strongly from post 2 under John Velazquez as the even-money favorite, but the equally-speedy Serengeti Empress and jockey Luis Saez outkicked her to hold the sole early lead.
Velazquez pulled Gamine back and tipped her off the rail to stalk and avoid any kickback while Serengeti Empress posted opening fractions of :21.77 and :44.27.
Gamine ranged up in the far turn and presented her challenge at the top of the stretch, then took over just past the 3/16 pole.
Blowing the lid off the cane sugar jar, Gamine cruised home to win the 7-furlong fast dirt sprint by 6 1/4 lengths. The Bob Baffert trainee’s final time of 1:20.20 positively shattered the previous mark of 1:21.32 that Taris set in 2014.
“We knew that other horse would come out running, but I didn’t want to give it up too easy,” Velazquez said. “I wanted to make (Saez) work a little harder. Once he passed me, I came off the rail, and even then, I didn’t get want to give it to him that easy, either. I made sure I put a little pressure on because I know that filly is really tough on the lead. I made sure I was close to him. When I asked my filly, she was there for me.”
Though headed halfway home, Serengeti Empress managed to hold off a fast-closing Bell’s the One by a nose to save second.
“I had a pretty good trip,” Saez said. “I put her on the lead and she was pretty comfortable. When the other filly came to her, she fought, but the winner is a very good filly.”
Sconsin, Come Dancing, Speech, Sally’s Curlin, and Venetian Harbor completed the order of finish.
Inthemidstofbiz was scratched.
Gamine’s win was the fourth of her career and followed similar eye-popping scores in the Longines Acorn Stakes (G1) in June and the Longines Test Stakes (G1) in August. The 3-year-old Into Mischief filly, purchased for $1.8 million as an unraced juvenile, improved her record to 6-4-0-1 with $1,003,000 earned, becoming racing’s newest millionaire.
Gamine returned $4.20 to win, $3 to place, and $2.40 to show. Serengeti Empress brought back $4 to place and $3 to show, while Bell’s the One paid $3.20 to show.