Hot Springs, Ark. (Friday, Jan. 15, 2016) – On a day when longshots prevailed in nearly all races on the opening day card, it shouldn’t have been a surprise to see Marquee Miss win Friday’s $100,000 Dixie Belle Stakes at odds of 17-1.
With an estimated crowd of 17,500 watching, jockey Channing Hill guided the winning 3-year-old filly to the front soon after the start and proceeded to lead through early fractions of :21 4/5 and :46 1/5 for the first half mile. Durango, the 4-5 favorite, came from fourth to get within a head of the winner at the half-mile point, but proved no match in the end. Marquee Miss won the six furlong race in 1:11 3/5 over a fast track, while prevailing by 2 ½ lengths. Katalust finished third.
“I was surprised to see her so up close because she’s actually towing Channing (Hill) around there early,” said winning trainer Ingrid Mason. “That’s when I got real excited because I thought she’s going that comfortable early. He had a lot of horse left.”
Marquee Miss, a Cowboy Call filly, was winning for the first time since breaking her maiden in her career debut in the Arlington Washington Lassie Stakes last August. She has now earned $104,925 in her five-race career. Mason said the filly could start next in the $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes Feb. 6.
Marquee Miss returned $36.20, $9.40 and $4.60
Live racing resumes Saturday at Oaklawn with a 1 p.m. first post.
Dixie Belle Quotes
Winning rider Channing Hill – “This filly just helped pay for Christmas but it’s nice to start off on the right foot for the meet. This hopefully pushes the momentum a little further on my side. All I can say is I just rode the best horse in the race. I pointed her to the wire and she ran towards it. She has a pretty good future and she can go two turns, which will be real nice. I like her. When she won the Lassie, she was really nice in form and you always like to see a filly that wins her first race in a stake. I’ve been breezing her and she has been breezing terrifically, so I was real confident. Thought I was going to sit off the pace a little further back but that’s the way they ran.”
Winning trainer Ingrid Mason – “”I was surprised to see her so up close because she’s actually towing Channing (Hill) around there early. That’s when I got real excited because I thought she’s going that comfortable early. He had a lot of horse left.”
“We’ve toyed around with different things. Her last race, she doesn’t like slop. We’ve concluded that with the two slop tracks that she’s run on. Not her best surface and certainly, going forward, if it was going to be sloppy today she wasn’t going to run.”
Mason said there’s a “very good possibility” Marquee Miss will make her next start in the $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes Feb. 6 at Oaklawn.
Jockey Quincy Hamilton, second on Durango – “The plan was to take our time with her, get her to settle and make one run with her. That’s exactly what we did with her. It just turned out to be another horse’s day, not ours.”
Source: Oaklawn Park