Storm Flag Flying cemented her bid for champion 2-year-old filly with an impressive win.
As in the Distaff, the favorite in the Juvenile Fillies also came through. Coming into the race with a three race winning streak, Storm Flag Flying was sent off as the 4-5 favorite and ran to her odds.
Alex Solis sent 33-1 longshot Humorous Lady to the front and they set initial fractions of 23.37 and 46.28 before tiring and fading out of contention. 5-1 third choice Santa Catarina inherited the lead, going 3/4 in 1:10.31. At the top of the stretch, Storm Flag Flying was hustled to the front by John Velazquez, but inside the 1/8 pole 7-2 second choice Composure put in a strong run from 5th to poke her head in front. However, Storm Flag Flying would not be denied. 100 yards out she fought back for the lead, holding her challenger off for a 1/2 length win in 1:49.60 for the 1 1/8 mile event. It was another 9 3/4 lengths back to Santa Catarina in third. Storm Flag Flying is a third-generation Breeders' Cup winner, with her dam My Flag winning the 1995 Juvenile Fillies and grand-dam Personal Ensign winning the 1988 Distaff.
Purse: $1,000,000 Distance: 1 1/8 miles
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 4 Storm Flag Flying Velazquez 3.60 2.60 2.20 3 Composure Smith 3.40 2.80 1 Santa Catarina Bailey 3.00
The start of the Juvenile Fillies was good for all but Appleby Gardens.
Storm Flag Flying returns after the race. Jockey John Velazquez said, "I knew she was going to win it but it was just a matter of her giving it to me. She was running green today. Then [Composure] opened up a 1/2 length on us. I hit her left handed and she responded."
They tried to put the flowers on her, but she would not let them. She is known to be quite flighty, and at the post race breakfast assistant trainer Buzz Tenney said of her breeding (Storm Cat and My Flag, both pretty hot tempered): "We are going to need a net to catch this one!"
In the winner's circle with those evil flowers a safe distance away while owner Ogden Mills Phipps looks on.
Storm Flag Flying headed out early for the post parade. Trainer Shug McGaughey said, "She made the lead and kind of tried to pull herself up when [Composure] passed her. She came back and was a pretty handy winner. It's the first time she's really be tested and she responded to it. She will be a champion 2-year-old."
Second place finisher Composure in the post parade. Jockey Mike Smith said, "I knew John [Velazquez] had a lot of horse. [Storm Flag Flying] was looking around and gawking. My hope was to blow right by her and we did. I did everything right, we just ran into a champion and a half today. I knew she was the horse to beat, but we just couldn't do it today."
Third place finisher Santa Catarina being picked up by the pony horse for the post parade. Her jockey Jerry Baily said: "She ran all she could. I made the lead and she kind of pricked her ears like she had more, but then she just ran out."
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