May 23, 2024

Gamine gives Baffert Grade 1 record in Derby City Distaff

Gamine, with John Velazquez up, wins the Grade 1 Derby City Distaff at Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY. May 1, 2021. Photography by Jamie Newell.

Gamine didn’t win with the ease many expected her to in Saturday’s $500,000 Derby City Distaff (G1) at Churchill Downs, but the reigning champion female sprinter duly prevailed at odds of 1-5 as the shortest-priced favorite on the Kentucky Derby Day program.

Bobbling slightly leaving the gate, Gamine recovered well to take the lead under John Velazquez, who kept the Into Mischief four-year-old several paths off the inside through fractions of :23.15 and :46.08.

Briefly challenged by Sconsin at the top of the stretch, Gamine quickly reasserted past the eighth pole and won in relatively workmanlike fashion by 1 1/2 lengths in a time of 1:21.50 for seven furlongs over a fast track. She paid $2.40. Sconsin finished second by a length over Estilo Talentoso, with Bell’s the One, Hibiscus Punch, and Unique Factor completing the order of finish.

“She’s the ‘Queen Gamine,'” said trainer Bob Baffert, who was notching a record 220th Grade 1 victory in North America, surpassing the previous mark held by his close friend D. Wayne Lukas. “There’s more pressure when I run this filly because everybody expects her to win. I was very relieved she got it done.”

“I thought it was unattainable,” said Baffert regarding the Grade 1 record. “He’s been the standard, the bar, so to me he’s the greatest trainer ever.”

Owned by Michael Lund Petersen, Gamine has now won seven of eight starts, her only loss coming in last fall’s Kentucky Oaks (G1). She was third across the wire that day, but was subsequently disqualified due to the presence of a prohibited substance detected in post-race tests.

Her other three stakes appearances last season — in the Acorn (G1), Test (G1), and Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) — all resulted in blowout victories. She opened her 2021 account on April 4 with a facile win in the Las Flores (G3) at Santa Anita. She became racing’s latest equine millionaire here, and now boasts earnings of $1,286,500.

A $1.8 million Fasig-Tipton Midlantic juvenile purchase, Gamine was produced by the stakes-placed Peggy Jane, by Kafwain.