Gamine romped to an impressive 6 1/4-length victory in the $1 million Filly and Mare Sprint (G1), kicking off the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Saturday program with a track record-setting performance at Keeneland. The 3-year-old filly smashed the previous mark (1:21.32) when completing 7-furlongs in 1:20.20.
“That’s the baddest bitch in the land right there!” Baffert said.
Gamine was favored at 11-10 odds in the eight-horse field, and Bob Baffert trains the daughter of Into Mischief for owner Michael Lund Petersen.
With John Velazquez up, Gamine rebounded from her third-place finish in the 1 1/8-mile Kentucky Oaks (G1) in early September. The speedy bay has been unbeatable at one-turn distances, crushing foes in all four attempts, including wins in the Acorn (G1) and Test (G1) this summer.
She showed high speed from post 2, but Serengeti Empress sprinted forward from the outside intent on making the lead. Velazquez conceded the advantage, allowing Serengeti Empress to cross over in front, and immediately assumed an outside tracking position. Serengeti Empress led by about a length through opening splits in :21.77 and :44.27.
“We knew that other horse would come out running, but I didn’t want to give it up too easy,” Velazquez explained. “I wanted to make him (Luis Saez on Serengeti Empress) work a little harder. Once he passed me, I came off the rail and even then I didn’t get want to give it to him that easy either. I made sure I put a little pressure on because I know that filly is really tough on the lead. I made sure I was close to him.”
Gamine drew even nearing the top of the stretch and began to edge away as they straightened for home. She drew off stylishly through the lane, really pouring it on in the final sixteenth of a mile as the gigantic filly finished full of run.
“When I asked my filly, she was there for me,” Velazquez said.
“She is just brilliant,” Baffert added. “She is the fastest filly going one turn I’ve ever trained. I wanted it bad for her. What she’s gone through. She deserved it. Of all my races, this meant the most to me.”
Gamine, who was disqualified for a post-race test following a narrow two-turn allowance win at Oaklawn Park in her second career start, has now earned $1,003,000 from a 6-4-0-1 career record.
Serengeti Empress, the 3-1 second choice, held second by a nose over 6-1 third choice Bell’s the One. It was another half-length to Sconsin, who was followed by Come Dancing, Speech, Sally’s Curlin, and Venetian Harbor.
Bred in by Grace Thoroughbred Holdings, Gamine sold for $220,000 as a yearling before being purchased for $1.8 million at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Maryland May two-year-old sale. She is out of the stakes-placed Kafwain mare Peggy Jane.