Although she didn’t get that strong of a pace to chase and had all but one rival to pass in the final half-mile of Saturday’s $297,536 Pocahontas S. (G3) at Churchill Downs, neither obstacle proved a hindrance to Fun and Feisty, who earned a smashing win in the 1 1/16-mile feature for two-year-old fillies that kicked off the 2023 Road to the Kentucky Oaks series.
Inhaling 10 of her 11 rivals with a sustained, outside rally, Fun and Feisty scored decisively by 3 1/2 lengths under Julien Leparoux. Shoplifter finished second by 1 3/4 lengths over even-money favorite and pacesetter Grand Love. Following the latter were Boss Lady Bailey, Friendlypersuasion, Jet Setting, Southlawn, Outofnothingatall, Need Some Money, Kiss Me On Oconee, Justa Warrior, and Naughty Gal.
Owned by Lucky Seven Stable and trained by Kenny McPeek, who was winning the Pocahontas for the third time since 2015, Fun and Feisty returned $14.46 after covering the course in 1:45.86 over a fast track.
“This is a filly we thought was real good for a long time,” McPeek said. “She’s going to want to go further. The Alcibiades ([G1] at Keeneland on Oct. 7) is very likely next.”
As part of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series, Fun and Feisty earned 10 qualifying points for next May’s feature. Shoplifter earned four points, Grand Love three points, Boss Lady Bailey two points, and Friendlypersuasion one point. This is the first year in which fifth-place finishers in every Oaks and Kentucky Derby (G1) prep will earn qualifying points.
This was the second win from four starts for Fun and Feisty, who finished sixth in her July 4 debut at Churchill Downs before missing by a neck in her next start at Ellis Park. She broke her maiden by three lengths on a special Aug. 13 program at Churchill going six furlongs.
Bred in Kentucky by J. Stephen McDonald and sold for $100,000 at Fasig-Tipton July, Fun and Feisty is by juvenile champion Midshipman and out of Grouse Grind, by First Samurai.