'TDN Rising Star' Gamine (Into Mischief), the reigning Eclipse Award-winning female sprinter, kicks off her 4-year-old season in Sunday's GIII Las Flores S. at Santa Anita, where she faces just three other rivals.
Not among the original nominees to the race, Michael Lund's speedster was supplemented to the six-furlong test for $2,000, and the owner of the fastest five speed figures should make light work of it. The $220,000 Keeneland September yearling turned $1.8-million Fasig-Tipton Midlantic topper was devastating going one turn last season, winning those four races by a combined 38 1/4 lengths. Those included an 18 3/4-length romp in the GI Longines Acorn S. going a mile on the GI Belmont S. undercard June 20 and a seven-length thumping of Venetian Harbor (Munnings) in the GI Longines Test S. at Saratoga Aug. 8. Unable to see out the nine furlongs of the GI Kentucky Oaks–from which she was subsequently DQd from third to ninth–she was back to her best, defeating Serengeti Empress (Alternation) and Bell's the One (Majesticperfection) by a record 6 1/4 lengths in the GI Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint. Gamine is expected to use the Las Flores as a steppingstone to the GI Derby City Distaff May 2 and John Velazquez sticks around to ride.
Stablemate and fellow 'Rising Star' Qahira (Cairo Prince) looks most likely to finish closest to Gamine. Winner of five of her nine career starts, including the Jan. 10 Kalookan Queen S., the 5-year-old exits a third to the Baffert-trained Merneith (American Pharoah) in the GII Santa Monica S. Feb. 13.