January 23, 2022

Bonny South narrowly prevails in Doubledogdare

Bonny South
Bonny South (pink cap) wins the Doubledogdare Stakes (Photo by Coady Photography)

In a stretch duel involving rivals making their first starts of the season, Bonny South gamely dug in and edged both Royal Flag and the pacesetting Graceful Princess in the $100,000 Doubledogdare S. (G3) at Keeneland on Friday.

After the scratch of Bajan Girl, Graceless Princess inherited the role of pacesetter and proceeded to set a moderate tempo of :24.11 and :48.02, with 3-2 favorite Speech tracking in second. Rating closer to the pace than she had in some of her races last season, Bonny South was no more than 2 1/2 lengths off the leader under Florent Geroux.

Geroux got to work on the four-year-old Bonny South around the turn with an upcoming short stretch to work with. Closing the gap turning form home, Bonny South poked her head in front of Graceful Princess in mid-stretch and then fended off a challenge from Royal Flag on her outside, proving a head best at the wire between rivals.

A homebred racing for Juddmonte Farms, Bonny South covered 1 1/16 miles over a fast track in 1:43.46 and paid $9.40 in her first outing since late November. Royal Flag, also making her first start since November, earned place honors by a head over Graceful Princess. Eres Tu and High regard followed, while Speech backed out around the far turn and was virtually eased to the wire.

The Kentucky-bred Bonny South won two of her first three starts and then convincingly scored a 7-1 upset of the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) in late March 2020. Returning more than three months later to finish a distant fourth behind Speech in the Ashland (G1), she concluded her sophomore campaign with consecutive runner-up placings in the Alabama (G1), Black-Eyed Susan (G2), and Falls City (G2), the latter two as an odds-on favorite. Her record now stands at 9-4-3-0, $592,150.

“I felt that, physically, she had moved up from three to four,” said Cox, who suggested the Spinster (G1) at Keeneland in October could be one of a number Grade 1 races the filly might target later in the season. “She’d certainly been working that way in the mornings. Her work last weekend at Churchill, she was sort of touting herself.”

By Munnings, Bonny South was produced by Touch the Star, a Tapit half-sister to Grade 2 winner Etoile Montante. The latter reared Grade 2 heroine Starformer.