Following up on her stakes-record demolition job in the Acorn (G1), Michael Lund Petersen’s Gamine equaled the stakes record with another romp in Saturday’s $291,000 Test Stakes (G1) at Saratoga. The 3-10 favorite threw down the gauntlet to her prospective rivals in the Sept. 4 Kentucky Oaks (G1), and likely renewed discussion of taking on the boys at some point.
The Bob Baffert trainee never appeared to come out of second gear, and disposed of a quality rival in Venetian Harbor who attended her through splits of :22.70 and :45.14. Under confident Hall of Famer John Velazquez, Gamine merely pulled away to reach 6 furlongs in 1:08.64. She doubled her margin from the eighth pole to the wire, finishing seven lengths ahead of Venetian Harbor who was in turn 6 1/2 lengths clear in a strung-out field. Third-placer Up in Smoke had seven lengths on the last pair, fourth Perfect Alibi and fifth Mrs. Danvers, who were separated by a nose.
Gamine equaled the 7-furlong stakes record of 1:20.83 established by Lady Tak in the 2003 Test. A more direct comparison is afforded by the Ballerina (G1) earlier on the card, won by last year’s Kentucky Oaks star Serengeti Empress in 1:21.63. To be fair, the dynamic was different. Serengeti Empress was recovering from a step-slow start, and set much more taxing fractions of :21.75 and :43.74 that told on her late. Still, it’s significant whenever an inexperienced 3-year-old posts a time faster than Grade 1 elders.
First past the post in all four starts, Gamine incurred her lone official loss via disqualification, after reportedly testing positive for lidocaine on May 2 at Oaklawn Park. That was also her only try around two turns so far in a 1 1/16-mile allowance, where she just held off future Ashland (G1) winner Speech by a neck.
Gamine has been untouchable otherwise. She wired her 6 1/2-furlong debut at Santa Anita Mar. 7 by 6 1/4 lengths and trounced the Acorn by 18 3/4 lengths in an other-worldly 1:32.55 for the mile. Now with the Test to her credit, she’s bankrolled $363,000 from her three official wins, achieved by a combined margin of 32 lengths.
Bred by Barbara Banke’s Grace Thoroughbred Holdings in Kentucky, Gamine first brought $220,000 as a Keeneland September yearling. She was a pinhook home run for Brad Grady’s Grand Oaks, topping the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic May Sale at $1.8 million as a juvenile.
By leading sire Into Mischief, Gamine is out of the stakes-placed Kafwain mare Peggy Jean. This is the family of Canadian champion turf male Dynamic Sky.