SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Peter Brant’s Quidura knocked off a stout field of six (including two Chad Brown stablemates) to earn her first score of the year in Saturday’s Grade 2, $400,000 Woodford Reserve Ballston Spa Stakes at Saratoga.
Breaking quickly from post 5 under Jose Ortiz, Quidura was allowed to set an uncontested lead through splits of :24.19, :48.11, and 1:11.37. Coming under a drive at the 1/4-pole, Quidura continued hugging the inside of the turf course and exploded down the stretch, inching away with every step before crossing in a final time of 1:39.67 for the 1 1/16-mile event.
“Perfect trip,” Ortiz said. “We wanted to go to the lead, but it didn’t matter I had the whole inside, if I wasn’t going to go, but once I led her there, she kept going.”
Always trailing close but never threatening, Hawksmoor remained in the same position throughout the race, taking second over a three-way photo finish for third. Indian Blessing nosed out the heavily-favored 4/5 shot A Raving Beauty, with her Brown cohort Off Limits another nose back in fifth. Proctor’s Ledge weakened in the stretch and completed the order of finish.
Quidura’s win improved her record to 11-5-3-1 with career earnings of $740,788. The 5-year-old daughter of Dubawi has won a graded event in each of the three years that she’s been in North America, having previously taken the Grade 2 Canadian Stakes at Woodbine last September and the Grade 3 Pin Oak Valley View Stakes at Keeneland in October 2016. Put up for auction last November, Brant paid $3.6 million for the British-bred mare but chose to keep her in training for at least one more year before retiring her to broodmare duties, a decision that so far has paid off.
“We bought her at the sale last year and gave her plenty of time off,” Brown said. “She’s had two starts this year. In her last start, it was on really soft turf that she doesn’t like, and she still almost won. Coming off that race, she was training strong and got the firm ground she liked. The track helped her today. The other ones (A Raving Beauty and Off Limits), it hurt. It was very, very firm today.”
Quidura returned $9.50 to win, $5.20 to place, and $3.60 to show. Hawksmoor brought back $7.40 to place and $5.40 to show, while Indian Blessing paid $5.90 to show.