By Steve Sherack
Maybe it wasn't the electric performance that everyone was expecting, but nonetheless, 'TDN Rising Star' Gamine (Into Mischief) added her fourth career top-level win in game fashion in Saturday's GI Derby City Distaff S. at Churchill Downs.
Hammered into 1-5 favoritism, last year's champion female sprinter bobbled slightly beneath Johnny Velazquez at the start. Undeterred, she recovered quickly to show the way through surprisingly easy opening fractions of :23.15 and :46.08 while traveling several paths off the inside down the backstretch.
Last year's GII Eight Belles S. heroine Sconsin (Include) made a menacing four-wide move approaching the quarter pole and it briefly appeared that Gamine could be in deep water as she cornered wide. The $1.8-million EASMAY topper showed her class down the lane, however, racing down the center of the course, to repel that foe by 1 1/2 lengths and provide Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert with a record 220th Grade I victory.
“I didn't know I was that close to the record until a month ago,” Baffert said. “To do it here on this big day is very special. I'm just happy for Gamine. She got the job done. I told Johnny that this was the first time she's run before a crowd. She was looking around. So many things can go wrong, but once I saw her down the backside, I knew we were in the clear.”
Velazquez added, “She didn't get the break I hoped for but she bounced back really quickly and ran really easy in the early going. She showed what a champion she was and I was very proud of my filly.”
Gamine's championship season in 2020 included jaw-dropping wins in the GI Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint versus older fillies and mares at Keeneland, the GI Longines Acorn S. at Belmont and GI Longines Test S. at Saratoga. She kicked off her 4-year-old season with a facile win over three rivals in Santa Anita's GIII Las Flores S. Apr. 4.
Third across the wire as the favorite after setting the pace in last year's GI Kentucky Oaks–the lone blemish on her record (now that an Oaklawn DQ was overturned last month)–she was subsequently disqualified from the purse money for a medication positive.
Gamine is one of nine Grade I/94 black-type/40 graded winners for superstar sire Into Mischief.
The flashy bay topped the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-old sale, bringing $1.8 million. Purchased by Brad Grady's Grand Oaks for $220,000 at Keeneland September as a yearling, she blossomed into a seven-figure juvenile after breezing in :10 flat for Bobby Dodd in Timonium.
Gamine is out of the stakes-placed mare Peggy Jane (Kafwain) and hails from the family of Canadian champion Dynamic Sky (Sky Mesa). Peggy Jane is also responsible for the unraced 3-year-old colt Splashtown (Speightstown) ($300,000 FTKOCT yearling purchase by Frankie Brothers), a 2-year-old filly by Ghostzapper; a yearling colt by Kantharos; and an Into Mischief colt of this year.
Peggy Jane, a two-time winner, was a $200,000 OBS April 2-year-old purchase by Barbara Banke's Grace Stables in 2011.
Broodmare sire Kafwain is responsible for nine stakes/four graded winners, including Grade I winner Paola Queen (Flatter).
Saturday, Churchill Downs
DERBY CITY DISTAFF S. PRESENTED BY KENDALL-JACKSON WINERY-GI, $500,000, Churchill Downs, 5-1, 4yo/up, f/m, 7f, 1:21.50, ft.
1–GAMINE, 123, f, 4, by Into Mischief
1st Dam: Peggy Jane (SP, $102,050), by Kafwain
2nd Dam: Seattle Splash, by Chief Seattle
3rd Dam: Grand Splash, by Bucksplasher
($220,000 Ylg '18 KEESEP; $1,800,000 2yo '19 EASMAY).
O-Michael Lund Petersen; B-Grace Thoroughbred Holdings LLC
(KY); T-Bob Baffert; J-John R. Velazquez. $306,900. Lifetime
Record: Ch. Female Sprinter, 8-7-0-0, $1,286,500.
Werk Nick Rating: A++.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Sconsin, 118, f, 4, by Include
1st Dam: Sconnie, by Tiznow
2nd Dam: In the Wild, by Forest Wildcat
3rd Dam: Askrania, by Afleet
O/B-Lloyd Madison Farms LLC (KY); T-Gregory D. Foley.
3–Estilo Talentoso, 118, f, 4, by Maclean's Music
1st Dam: Bazinga Baby, by Afleet Alex
2nd Dam: Elizaveta, by Quiet American
3rd Dam: Carezza, by Caro (Ire)
($77,000 Ylg '18 FTKOCT; $95,000 RNA 2yo '19 OBSAPR;
$15,000 2yo '19 OBSOPN). O/T-Juan Arriagada; B-Mile High
Bloodstock LLC (KY).$49,500.
Margins: 1HF, 1, 2 3/4. Odds: 0.20, 11.00, 15.40.
Also Ran: Bell's the One, Hibiscus Punch, Unique Factor.
Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.