September 26, 2023

Break Even rolls to victory in Eight Belles

Churchill Downs will feature 41 stakes races worth $14 million during the 2020 spring meet (c) Gustavsson

by Tommy Raymond

Klein Racing’s homebred Break Even immediately went to the front of Friday’s $250,000 Eight Belles Stakes (G2) for three-year-old fillies at Churchill Downs and never looked back, cruising home by 5 1/2 lengths over her nearest pursuer. In the process, the Brad Cox trainee is now perfect in four starts.

Ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, the dark bay four-year-old daughter of Country Day posted splits of :22.08, :44.14 and 1:08.88 before stopping the clock for the seven-furlong test in 1:22.13 over the sloppy surface.  She was never challenged and led by at least 2 ½ lengths at every call.

Following the winner beneath the Twin Spires were Bell’s the One, Queen of Beas, Proud Emma, Bizwhacks, Mother Mother, Del Mar May, Lyrical Lady and Take Charge Angel.

The win also marked the 700th career triumph at Churchill for Bridgmohan and his second score in this particular race.

Cox, who also trains reigning champion three-year-old filly Monomoy Girl, wasn’t particularly surprised at what Break Even was able to do Friday.

“This filly is very fast,” the trainer said. “And I think the most impressive thing about her is how laid back she is. A lot of times horses that go that fast are horses that tend to be keyed up and want to over train in the mornings. Not this filly. She just gallops around each morning nice and easy with her ears up.”

Cox added that Break Even will be nominated to both the June 8 Acorn Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park and the August 31 Prioress Stakes (G2) at Saratoga.

A Kentucky homebred, Break Even has now amassed earnings of $287,400. The filly came into Friday’s race off a score in the Purple Martin Stakes at Oaklawn Park. She is out the winning Saint Ballado mare Exotic Wager, who happens to have a yearling full brother to the Eight Belles winner.