SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- The Kentucky Derby has taken its toll on plenty of 3-year-old colts over the years. It obviously has had little effect on the 3-year-old filly Devil May Care.
Devil May Care has bounced back from a 10th-place finish in the Derby with two solid victories in Grade 1 races, the second effort coming in Saturday's $250,000 Coaching Club American Oaks which she won by four lengths at steamy Saratoga.
Biofuel, third to Devil May Care in the Grade 1 Mother Goose, rallied for second, three-quarters of a length ahead of the Black-Eyed Susan winner, Acting Happy. Bahama Bound, Seeking the Title, and Absinthe Minded completed the order of finish. Connie and Michael, who had a foot abscess, and Lisa's Booby Trap scratched.
Devil May Care, owned by the Greathouse family's Glencrest Farm, added the Coaching Club to her victory in last month's Mother Goose at Belmont. Now, she will most likely take on the West Coast's leading 3-year-old filly, Blind Luck, in a divisional showdown in the $600,000 Alabama here on Aug. 21.
Devil May Care, under John Velazquez, raced between horses for the first four furlongs of the Coaching Club as Absinthe Minded set fractions of 24.54 and 48.21 seconds for the half-mile. At the five-furlong marker, Velazquez took a hold of Devil May Care to get her back and then outside into the clear.
Entering the far turn, Devil May Care made a three-wide move and approaching the five-sixteenths pole Velazquez began to look behind him. Velazquez didn't want to make the lead too soon, but at the three-sixteenths pole he couldn't hold the filly any more and Devil May Care struck the front. She continued her tendency to wait on horses, and Velazquez, who looked behind him four more times in the stretch, had to keep busy on her to the wire.
Devil May Care, a daughter of Malibu Moon, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.42 over a drying-out track labeled fast and returned $3.40 to win.
"I was taking a little too much hold of her, I didn't want to choke her down," Velazquez said. "Before the half-mile pole, I pulled her out, tried to give her her head a little where I wasn't choking her down. Then she started to get into a good rhythm, and then she got into a nice cruising speed."
Pletcher said he made a concerted effort to give Devil May Care plenty of time to recover from her Derby effort, in which she was in contention to the quarter pole before finishing 12 lengths behind Super Saver, also trained by Pletcher.
"It's a tribute to the filly, really," Pletcher said. "We tried to do the right thing after the Derby and made sure to give her plenty of time to the Mother Goose, and she rewarded us with a big effort and did the same today."