January 20, 2022

Daddy Is a Legend tells foes ‘good night’ in Jimmy Durante

Daddy Is a Legend rolled from well back to capture her stakes debut in the Jimmy Durante © BENOIT PHOTO

Runner-up to eventual Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) winner Rushing Fall at Belmont Park in September, Daddy Is a Legend scored a coup at Del Mar herself in Saturday’s $102,415 Jimmy Durante (G3). The well-named daughter of the late Scat Daddy, trained by George Weaver for Jim and Susan Hill, justified her status as the 5-2 favorite with a terrific rally.

Like Rushing Fall, Daddy Is a Legend made a stop at Keeneland on the way west. While Rushing Fall impressed in the Jessamine (G3) to earn her Breeders’ Cup ticket, Daddy Is a Legend broke her maiden October 27 in a power-packed display from far back.

Jockey Joe Bravo went along with her to Del Mar, where the dark bay took a strong hold as he rated her near the rear. Up front, Just a Smidge led through an opening quarter in :23.80 on the firm turf until Fatale Bere pulled her way to the fore.

Fatale Bere likewise has a form connection with Rushing Fall, having finished a wide-trip fifth in the Juvenile Fillies Turf over this course and distance November 3. But her chances of rendering a Breeders’ Cup form boost were undercut by her early eagerness, as an unexpected leader carving out fractions of :48.04 and 1:12.02.

At every stage, Daddy Is a Legend was traveling with zest, and Bravo had to tap on the brakes lest she run up on the back of heels rounding the far turn. He had to peel her well out wide to let her lengthen stride. Once straightening up, she leveled off with deadly effect.

The stalking Raucous briefly headed Fatale Bere in midstretch, and Chad Brown’s shipper Data Dependent was making good headway, but neither could handle the blunt force of Daddy Is a Legend. Swamping them inside the final furlong, which Trakus clocked in :11.55, she won going away in a final time of 1:36.06 for the mile.

Data Dependent was best of the rest by three-quarters of a length from Raucous, with Lexington Grace rounding out the superfecta. Fatale Bere gave way to eighth in the only poor effort of her career; watch for her to bounce back with more typical waiting tactics. Just a Smidge trailed home last of 12.

Bred by HnR Nothhaft Horseracing in Pennsylvania, Daddy Is a Legend brought $140,000 as a Keeneland November weanling and $160,000 at the same venue the following September. She has now bankrolled $107,910 from her 4-2-1-0 line, her lone unplaced effort a fifth when she hit the gate in her Saratoga debut.

Her dam, the unraced Benchmark mare Randie’s Legend, is a half-sister to Grade 2-winning sprinter Frumious and multiple stakes scorer Eternal Rule. Daddy Is a Legend counts as her third dam multiple Canadian champion Eternal Search.

Quotes from Del Mar

Austin Trites, trainer George Weaver’s assistant, on Daddy Is a Legend: “She gave us a couple of scares, but we’ll take it. For a split second, around the turn, I was very worried. But when he (Joe Bravo) tipped her out and she got in the clear, she came home very well.”

Winning rider Joe Bravo: “She’s a big filly. She’s a special one, too. I was following Chad Brown’s horse (Data Dependent) around there and when she went I went right behind her. When we hit the stretch, I tipped her (Daddy Is a Legend) out and it was bye-bye. It was her race from there. She’s special.”

Jockey Javier Castellano on runner-up Data Dependent: “We had a good trip and she ran well. The winner was just much the best today.”

Flavien Prat, who rode Raucous in third: “She ran well. She just seemed to lose focus for a bit in the stretch when she was in front, but that really wasn’t going to affect her finish.”