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LOUISVILLE, KY – Trainer Dale Romans’ Girl Daddy overcame a slow start and drew off in the stretch to become her barn’s record fourth winner of Thursday’s $200,000 Pocahontas Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs.
The Pocahontas is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with Girl Daddy receiving an automatic berth in the Juvenile Fillies at Keeneland this November.
Girl Daddy broke a bit poorly from post 11, which helped her avoid making contact with Mania, who broke inward quite sharply from post 12. With Joe Talamo in the saddle for the second straight race, Girl Daddy sat off the pace and settled into her own stride as the field exited the chute onto the main oval.
Girl Daddy put herself into a three-wide position while running fifth down the backside. Mania pressured the outside of Inject, who posted opening fractions of :22.22 and :44.97 heading into the far turn, which is when Talamo gave Girl Daddy the green light.
Ranging up alongside the pacesetting pair, Girl Daddy straightened for home with a narrow advantage and a wall of juvenile fillies surrounding her, but she responded alertly to Talamo’s rein shakes and kicked clear from her rivals while drawing off in the stretch.
The 8/5 favorite Crazy Beautiful attempted to rally from last, but to no avail. Girl Daddy crossed 2 lengths clear as the 3/1 third choice on the tote, completing the one-turn fast dirt mile in a final time of 1:34.94.
“What a talented filly she is,” Talamo said. “In the paddock, Dale just said to ride her like I did last time. Fortunately, it worked out that way. I just let her do her thing. It’s crazy that they went in :44 and change. The way she was going, it felt like :46 and change. That’s how you know you’re on a good one. Her mind is what makes her so talented. When she won (her debut) at Ellis Park, she acted like she had run 12 times. It was the same thing today. She was on the muscle, but in a good way.”
Crazy Beautiful ran into traffic off the far turn and spotted the winner too much distance by the time that she broke through, eventually crossing second. Alexandria was 3 3/4 lengths further back in third, 5 3/4 lengths ahead of Xtrema in fourth.
Fabricate, Mania, American Grace, Inject, and an eased Blissful Change completed the order of finish.
Ava’s Grace, Dream Quist, and Scat’s Choice were scratched.
Girl Daddy’s win followed the aforementioned debut score at Ellis Park and improved her career earnings mark to $141,240. The Uncle Mo filly was purchased with high expectations: Albaugh Family Stables paid a final price of $500,000 when she was still a yearling.
“This filly was super impressive with that fast pace up front,” Romans said. “They were running really fast, but Joe got her in a great spot. She’s shown some incredible talent for this stage of her career. It’s exciting having a filly developing this quickly. We’re thrilled to only have to take a short trip down the road to Keeneland for the Breeders’ Cup.”
Girl Daddy returned $8.60 to win, $3.60 to place, and $3.20 to show. Crazy Beautiful brought back $3 to place and $2.60 to show, while Alexandria paid $5 to show.
The Pocahontas is also part of the Road to the 2021 Kentucky Oaks prep race season. Girl Daddy earned 10 points for the win, with Crazy Beautiful receiving 4 for second, Alexandria 2 for third, and Xtrema 1 for fourth.
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