SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY – Michael Ryan’s Positive Spirit used a wide trip throughout to explode in the stretch and power home to an eye-popping score in Saturday’s Grade 2, $250,000 Demoiselle Stakes at Aqueduct.
Breaking from post 4 under Manny Franco at 11/1 odds, Positive Spirit ran three-wide within striking range of early leader Filly Joel through opening fractions of :24.16, :49.19, and 1:15.51. Still in hand as she ranged up alongside Filly Joel and the 6/5 favorite Enliven sandwiched between them, Positive Spirit edged past before hitting the top of the stretch already clear of the field. Continuing to draw away with every step she took, the Rodolphe Brisset trainee’s ears seemed to twitch with glee as she crossed the wire with a 10 1/2-length advantage in a final time of 1:56.01 for the 9-furlong event over the fast main track.
“I was just the pilot,” said Franco, who was standing in the irons and patting his steed’s mane as they crossed the wire. “She was dragging me around the entire way around. I just waited for the right moment to make a run and she was there for me. I wasn’t concerned about being floated wide because on the backside we were running straight and didn’t lose ground. I just kept her there so she could stay clean and she really did it easy. She took me to the front to make the lead and when I asked her she really opened up.”
Running wide past tiring foes in the stretch allowed Afleet Destiny to secure second over a weakened Filly Joel. Molto Bella didn’t fire and settled for fourth over a spent Enliven, while Jennifer’s Dream and Girl of Tosconova completed the order of finish.
The Demoiselle is part of the Road to the 2019 Kentucky Oaks prep race season. Positive Spirit earned 10 points for the win, with Afleet Destiny receiving 4 for second, Filly Joel 2 for third, and Molto Bella 1 for fourth.
Positive Spirit’s win was her second straight following her maiden-breaking score on November 8 while going a mile over the Churchill Downs main track. The daughter of Pioneerof the Nile now carries a record of 4-2-1-1 with earnings of $206,700.
“She really changed after the race in Keeneland (two starts prior, when she finished second by a neck),” Brisset said. “The light bulb really went on after she got beat. I didn’t want to cut her back to a mile (in her last race), but I didn’t have any choice. We did that, and since, she’s been training well and we took a shot here. She gave us all the good signs for bringing her and it paid off.”
Positive Spirit returned $24.40 to win, $10.20 to place, and $6.20 to show. Afleet Destiny brought back $18 to place and $7.10 to show, while Filly Joel paid $3.60 to show.