The female horses took center stage this past weekend and did not disappoint. Two stakes each at Churchill Downs and Santa Anita Park topped an overall fun time at the races, but these three girls in particular took center stage in our minds. Here are our latest three stars of the week:
1. Bell’s the One
What looked like a two-horse race between the ultra-fast Break Even and the red-hot Mia Mischief in Saturday’s Winning Colors Stakes (G3) went completely the other way when the 13/1 longshot Bell’s the One made a bold run in the middle of the track to win going away. She sat well off the pace and was able to make one big run after Break Even set blistering opening fractions of :21.28 and :44.51. Bell’s the One last won the Raven Run Stakes (G2) at Keeneland last fall, oddly while using the same tactics and being ignored at 13/1 odds. She is helping to secure her status as one of the elite sprinting fillies in the country.
2. Secret Message
In a race loaded with powerful closers, sometimes the best thing to do is pick the best value on the board and cross your fingers for a clean trip. That is what happened in Saturday’s Old Forester Mint Julep Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs when the 25/1 longshot Secret Message outkicked fellow ralliers La Signare, Zofelle, and She’sonthewarpath. The field consisted of eight graded stakes winners, including Secret Message, who has now won three at that level. She looks ready for a big summer – though you may never see 25/1 on her again anytime soon.
3. Fighting Mad
It is very rare that a Bob Baffert-trained horse goes off at odds of 10/1, especially in a five-horse field in California, but Fighting Mad made the bettors pay when she cruised in Sunday’s Santa Maria Stakes (G2). The 4-year-old filly was the lone pace on paper and proved that to be true, setting quick but unpressured early fractions before drawing off strongly in the stretch. She defeated Grade 1 winners Ce Ce and Hard Not to Love in the process, and by the time the dust settled, she had tossed her hat into the already-deep older female dirt group. The best division in racing just got that much better.