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Daisy Devine easiest of winners on Santa Super Saturday

Daisy Devine was well clear of her overmatched opponents turning for home (Hodges Photography/Alexander Barkoff)

Daisy Devine on Saturday ended her 2012 campaign, which encompassed a Grade 1 win last April in the Jenny Wiley at Keeneland, much the same way it started: with a facile victory over the Fair Grounds turf.

The 1-5 favorite over four rivals in the $72,000 Blushing K. D. Handicap, the four-year-old daughter of Kafwain set a moderate pace with 50-1 outsider Necessary Luxury her closest pursuer. Separating herself from that rival around the far turn, Daisy Devine opened up an insurmountable lead in the stretch and finished up six lengths clear of Forest Uproar at the finish of the about 1 1/16-mile event.

Ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., Daisy Devine set splits of :24, :49 2/5 and 1:13 4/5, and was clocked in 1:44 over firm ground. She paid $2.40, $2.10 and $2.10.

In a spread-out field, Forest Uproar, the 5-1 third choice, finished 10 3/4 length ahead of 7-2 second choice Francisca. Aquapazza and Necessary Luxury completed the order of finish, while Artemus Kitten and Forgotten People were scratched.

Daisy Devine, whose 2011 tallies included the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks, Grade 3 Valley View and the Pago Hop, kicked off her four-year-old campaign with a 2 1/4-length score in the February 21 Mardi Gras Handicap over the Blushing K. D. course and distance. She stretched her win streak to four in the April 14 Jenny Wiley, and recently rebounded from a two-race losing skein to take the Grade 3 Cardinal Handicap at Churchill Downs by a head.

The Kentucky-bred, owned by James M. Miller and trained by Andrew McKeever, now boasts a line of 16-9-2-1, $946,281.

"She looks as good as ever. We just take it as we go. I think the next race is January 19 (the $75,000 Marie G. Krantz Memorial Stakes at about 1 1/16 miles on turf) and we go from there," McKeever said. "The main objective is the Jenny Wiley at Keeneland (on April 14)."

Daisy Devine was bred in Kentucky by J. Reiley McDonald and fetched a mere $5,500 at the 2009 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. She was produced by the Devil's Bag mare Devil's Dispute, who also reared the stakes-winning Patent Pending.

Daisy Devine's second dam is Grade 2 winner Impetuous Gal, the dam of multiple Grade 1-winning producer Banker's Lady and Grade 3 winner Idabel. Also hailing from this family are Grade 1 winner Ecton Park and multiple Grade 2 hero Banker's Gold.

Strike Impact has won twice in stakes company at the advanced age of eight (Hodges Photography/Lynn Roberts)

Strike Impact, an eight-year-old Smart Strike gelding, improved on his second-place finish in the 2011 Buddy Diliberto Memorial Handicap by taking Saturday's $73,500 renewal by a length under Shaun Bridgmohan.

Tracking in second behind a dawdling pace of :25, :51 1/5 and 1:16 4/5 set by longshot Workin for Hops, Strike Impact seized control at the top of the stretch and held off a trio of challengers to post the victory in a time of 1:46 1/5 for about 1 1/16 miles. He paid $19.40, $9.60 and $4.20 as the 8-1 fifth choice in a field of seven.

"A horse like this has done it so long and is used to competing on a high level," Jacinto said. "He knows what to do and basically I just try to stay out of his way. Last time we had not a very good trip; things just didn't go his way. Today I was just looking to give him a much smoother trip and he's such a professional, you just stay out of his way and let him do his job."

Hotep, who trailed most of the way, rallied to finish second by a neck over Dubious Miss, who had a nose up on three-year-old Skyring. James Street, the 5-2 favorite, finished fifth and was followed by Workin for Hops and Heavenville.

Owned by Chester J. Miller and trainer Pat Dupuy, Strike Impact was recording only his second career stakes win, the first having come in the July 3 Independence Day at Mountaineer. The Kentucky-bred has placed twice at the graded level, finishing third in the 2011 Grade 2 Firecracker Handicap and in the Grade 3 Colonel E.R. Bradley Handicap this past January. The 2013 renewal of the Bradley, on January 19, is likely the next start for Smart Strike.

Bred by Hermitage Farm, Strike Impact was produced by the stakes-winning Time for a Change mare Foret Noire, a half-sister to Grade 3 winners Marastani and Christine's Outlaw, and to stakes scorers Crimson Classic and Amansara. All were reared by the Grade 3-winning Marianna's Girl.

Strike Impact's lengthy record now reads 69-18-9-11, $657,393.

China re-rallied in the stretch to register his first stakes win (Hodges Photography/Lou Hodges Jr.)

Making only his second career appearance on grass, China pulled off a massive upset in the $74,250 Bonapaw at about 5 1/2 furlongs. Breaking quickest from the gate, the John Good trainee led through an opening quarter of :22, yielded to Cash Refund turning for home, but fought back on the inside to re-claim the lead and register a neck victory over early trailer Icon Ike. John Jacinto rode the winner to a final time of 1:04 3/5.

The longest shot on the board at 36-1, China returned $74.20, $21.20 and $7.80. Icon Ike finished 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Global Power, who had a half-length on 9-5 favorite and 2011 Bonapaw winner Chamberlain Bridge. Cash Refund, Zeb, Hollywood Hit and Ready for More rounded out the order of finish, while Next Right Thing was scratched.

Campaigned by Black Sheep Racing, China was last of 10 in his only previous start on grass in the 2011 Grade 3 Canadian Turf. However, a three-for-five synthetic surface mark suggested the son of Tale of the Cat might fare better on the surface around one turn.

"When I saw him work I thought that this was a logical spot and he's probably not good enough to hang with the dirt sprinters around here this winter, so this surface switch made sense," Good said.

An early-season debut winner at two over future Grade 1 winner Noble's Promise, China had placed only twice in stakes prior to the Bonapaw -- in the 2011 Bet on Sunshine and the Grade 3 Maryland Sprint Handicap this past May. His record now stands at 18-6-3-4, $271,072.

Bred in Kentucky by Totier Creek Farm, China was produced by the stakes-placed Indian Charlie mare Crow Jane, herself a half-sister to stakes winner Secret Lover. The five-year-old descends from Endine, a two-time winner of the Delaware Handicap.

Tour Guide earned win number three in his season finale (Hodges Photography/Lynn Roberts)

Gary and Mary West's up-and-coming juvenile Tour Guide scored a convincing win, as expected, in the $48,500 Sugar Bowl over six furlongs. The 3-10 favorite against five rivals, the Broken Vow colt took over from outsider Seeking Payday at the quarter pole and extended his margin to 3 1/2 lengths at the wire to finish up in 1:11 1/5 over a fast track under Brian Hernandez Jr. He returned $2.60, $2.10 and $2.10.

I've Struck a Nerve, the 3-1 second choice, finished a clear second, 3 1/2 lengths ahead of Brown Laddie. Seeking Payday, who set an opening quarter split of :21 4/5 before the winner hit the half-mile marker in :45 3/5, finished fourth and was followed by Arbiter and Expect Distinction.

Trained by Bret Calhoun, Tour Guide finished second in his Monmouth Park debut in late July before graduating at the same track on September 3. A well-beaten fifth in his stakes debut in the Dover at Delaware Park in early October, he preceded this victory with a 4 1/2-length allowance score going six furlongs at Churchill Downs. He's now earned $95,050.

"He had some chronic respiratory problems up there," said Calhoun in reference to Tour Guide's poor showing in the Dover. "He was having some displacing problems and didn't get the best of rides and just a lot of things didn't go right that day. We got him off the East Coast to Churchill and got all the respiratory problems cleared up and did a little minor throat surgery on him and it's worked pretty well since then."

A homebred foaled in Kentucky, Tour Guide was produced by the Came Home mare Homefortheholidays. His extended family includes the likes of juvenile filly champion Pleasant Stage and Grade 1 winners A Phenomenon and Seattle Meteor.

Finding More will take a three-race win streak into her sophomore campaign (Hodges Photography/Lynn Roberts)

The Washington-bred Finding More won for the third time in four outings with a 2 1/4-length triumph in the $49,000 Letellier Memorial for two-year-old fillies. Guided by John Jacinto, the daughter of Trickey Trevor rallied from slightly off the pace to win going away by 2 1/4 lengths in a time of 1:11 4/5 for six furlongs. At 8-1, she returned $19, $7.60 and $3.

Benefiting from a speed duel led by Coastal Sunrise, whose opening quarter was :21 4/5, Finding More poked her head in front passing the quarter pole in :46 and opened up a lengthy advantage throughout the stretch. Irish Lute, the 4-1 third choice, bested even-money favorite Brotherhood Singer for second by three parts of a length, with My Daughter's Song two lengths farther back in fourth. Assets of War, and Franks Officer Gal, while Coastal Sunrise was pulled up when hopelessly beaten. Prettyhotprincess was an early scratch.

Bred by Mr. and Mrs. Fred Pabst and owned by Daniel Kenney, Finding More was demoted from third to fifth in her Presque Isle Downs debut on August 3, but returned the following month to break her maiden by 1 3/4 lengths at Woodbine. The Kellyn Gorder pupil preceded this win with a 44-1 shcoker against allowance foes at Churchill Downs on October 28. She's now earned $78,888.

A $4,500 yearling purchase in Washington, Finding More was reared by the Green Dancer mare Greenmountain Girl, making her a half-sister to the stakes-placed Jablunkov Pass. This family has yielded Grade 2 winner Prince Westport and Grade 3 victor Krazy Koffee.

"I think we will see if she can go two turns," assistant trainer Evan Downing said. "The owner remembered the sire, Trickey Trevor, and happened to be in Washington and saw this filly in the sale. She was one or two in the sale and was going to sell right away. He remembered the sire being really fast and thought nobody else would even know who that was. He looked at the filly and she was pretty correct and clean and he bought her for $4,500. And here we are! It does sound like she has more sprint breeding but she won going seven-eighths last time so we'll probably try."

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