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HOT SPRINGS, AR – Trainer Brad Cox’s Shedaresthedevil edged the 3/2 favorite Letruska by a head on the wire to win Saturday’s $350,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn Park.
Sheedaresthedevil went straight to the front after breaking from the far outside post 5 under Florent Geroux as the 9/5 second choice while Envoutante and Letruska gave closest chase.
The two chasers ranged up to challenge for the lead in the far turn and turned for home ready to challenge, but Shedaresthedevil refused to wilt in her first start since last October.
Shedaresthedevil completed the 1 1/16-mile fast dirt route in 1:42.57.
“We caught a flyer out of the gate,” Geroux said. “I was expecting Letruska to lead all the way. I don’t know if she didn’t break fast enough or stumbled, but we inherited the lead and I just took it from there. My filly is extremely talented. You know you want to slow her down, just keep her in a nice rhythm. Turning for home, she gave me everything she had. She maybe got a little bit tired down the lane, but it was good for her first race off the break. I don’t think she was 100% cranked up for this. We have hopes for a big year with her.”
Letruska was 2 lengths clear of the winner’s stablemate Getridofwhatailesu, who headed Envoutante for third in the final jumps. Motion Emotion completed the order of finish.
Shedaresthedevil’s win came in her first start since finishing third in the Spinster Stakes (G1) at Keeneland behind eventual Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) runner-up Valiance. The 4-year-old Daredevil filly’s record stands at 12-6-2-3 with $1,503,518 earned for co-owners Flurry Racing Stables, Qatar Racing Limited, and Big Aut Farms.
“Whenever I run here, I’m nervous,” said Staton Flurry. “I expected (Letruska) to break good, but she didn’t. We just went on with it. She really dug in. Florent rode a great race. I’m glad to have her back. It’s going to be a fun year.”
Shedaresthedevil returned $5.60 to win, $3 to place, and $2.20 to show. Letruska brought back $3.20 to place and $2.40 to show. Getridofwhatailesu paid $2.60 to show.
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