GARDENIA STAKES | PURSE: $500,000 | 3-YEAR-OLDS & UP | FILLIES & MARES | GRADE 3 | 1 MILE
Outsider Devious Intent at 15-1 odds spoiled the comeback effort of champion Groupie Doll after 8 ½ months at 15-1 odds in the $100,000 Gardenia Stakes Aug. 10 at Ellis Park.
Ridden by Roberto Morales for trainer Kellyn Gorder and owner TK Stables, the 4-year-old daughter of Dixie Union outfought pacesetter Magic Hour through a long stretch drive to score by a neck in a swift time of 1:34.97 for a mile over a fast track. The clocking was just off the track mark of 1:34.60 established by Still Waving in 1988.
Devious Intent earned her first graded stakes win.
Groupie Doll, poised to take over a furlong out as the 1-5 favorite, evened out late and settled for third, beaten by one length.
Winner of the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint en route to Eclipse honors as the nation's best female sprinter, Groupie Doll had not been out since running second against males in the Cigar Mile (gr. I) Nov. 24. She had been working brilliantly at Churchill Downs for trainer Buff Bradley heading into her comeback race.
Nine contested the Gardenia, with Magic Hour getting to the front out of the gate to lead Devious Intent, who slid over from an outside post to find a good stalking position a half-length off the leader. Groupie Doll stumbled slightly at the start and was in some traffic early before she angled off the inside to race mid-pack between horses. She eventually worked her way to the outside for jockey Rajiv Maragh.
Magic Hour, ridden by Leandro Goncalves, posted quarter mile fractions of :24.09, :47.03, and 1:10.52, with Devious Intent on her flank all the way around. Groupie Doll, up on the outside, was mounting her customary charge coming off the turn. But the well-meant Devious Intent drew even with Magic Hour at the eighth pole and proved a determined winner.
Magic Hour, off at 26-1, combined for a $334 exacta with Devious Intent.
Bred in Kentucky by Robert and Kimberly Bain out of the Machiavellian mare Hafifah, Devious Intent was a $45,000 Keeneland September yearling buy in 2010.
Devious Intent was coming off a runner-up finish in the Saylorville Stakes June 28 at Prairie Meadows when she stumbled at the break and was forced to come wide from off the pace to lose by one length. She previously won the Genesis Stakes at Delta Downs in January 2102. Her latest effort improved her career mark to to 4-5-1 in 15 starts with earnings of $276,309.
Sent off as the fifth choice, Devious Intent paid $33.80, $11.60, and $6.60. Janis Whitham's homebred Magic Hour, runner-up in the Iowa Distaff last time out for trainer Ian Wilkes, returned $17.80 and $6.60. Groupie Doll, who won the 2011 Gardenia, paid $2.10.
Molly Morgan was fourth, followed by Ice Cream Silence, Awesome Flower, Itsabeautifulthing, Sharp Sally, and Twice the Lady. Assets of War, Ciguaraya, and Dixie Strike scratched.