(Gamine / Coady Photography)
From the Breeders’ Cup Media Team:
Michael Lund Petersen’s Gamine ($4.20) surged past pacesetting Serengeti Empress at the three-sixteenths pole and drew off by 6 ¼ lengths to win the 14th running of the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) Saturday afternoon at Keeneland in the first of nine World Championships races.
Trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by John Velazquez, Gamine covered the 7 furlongs on a fast main track in a track-record 1:20.20. That clocking shattered the mark of 1:21.32 established in 2014 by Taris.
The victory is the 16th Breeders’ Cup triumph for Baffert and 17th for Velazquez, but the first in the Filly & Mare Sprint for either.
Serengeti Empress was quickest out of the gate setting fractions of :21.77 and :44.27 as Gamine tracked her in second and to her outside. On the far turn, Gamine began to move closer and by the top of the stretch the two were on even terms but not for long.
Serengeti Empress saved the place spot by a nose over Bell’s the One who had a half-length advantage over fourth-place Sconsin.
The victory was worth $550,000 and improved Gamine’s earnings to $1,033,000 with a record of 6-4-0-1. It is the third Grade 1 victory for the 3-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Into Mischief out of the Kafwain mare Peggy Jane.
Winning trainer Bob Baffert (Gamine) – “That’s the baddest bitch in the land right there! I knew (Serengeti Empress) was going to go and I told Johnny if you get separation to get to the outside. She is doing as well as she did when she won the Acorn. She is just brilliant. 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.”
Winning jockey John Velazquez (Gamine) – “We knew that other horse would come out running, but I didn’t want to give it up too easy. I wanted to make him [Luis Saez] 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. When I asked my filly, she was there for me.”
Second-place trainer Tom Amoss (Serengeti Empress) – “We just got outrun. There’s no secret to it. We just got flat outrun. Gamine turned in a spectacular performance, but I’m still so very proud of my filly. Being second-best today is no disgrace, not by a longshot. My girl was a winner a long time ago before this race.”
Second-place jockey Luis Saez (Serengeti Empress) – “I had a pretty good trip. I put her on the lead and she was pretty comfortable. When the other filly came to her she fought, but the winner is a very good filly.”
Third-place trainer Neil Pessin (Bell’s the One) – “They didn’t go, that was the problem. Gamine took off Serengeti which was a smart thing to do on her part. It was a slow pace for this type of race, the way the track is playing today. But my filly ran her eyeballs out. Very proud of her. Another jump and she would have been second.”
Third-place jockey Corey Lanerie (Bell’s the One) – “She ran great. I actually thought I was second. Hat’s off to the winner. She beat us today fair and square. My filly showed up like she always does, and she gave me everything she had. I was a little wider than I wanted, but I knew I couldn’t get stopped. If I have to check any, my chances were done. So, I put her out in the clear, and we were coming but just weren’t good enough today.”
Fourth-place trainer Greg Foley (Sconsin) – “She’s a good filly and running against the best in the world. It is a shame she got beat a half-length for second. I thought we were going to be second and then we got zapped for third the last jump. Serengeti Empress got to laying on us a little bit while our filly was running up the fence. She got a good ride and it was just a shame we weren’t second or third. The fractions set up great for us (with the leaders) going fast which we figured they would. She ran her race and I am proud of her.”
Gamine through the Eyes & Lens of the great team at Coady Photography: