Gamine continued her march toward a second sprint championship on Saturday with a wire-to-wire victory in the $500,000 Ballerina H. (G1) at Saratoga.
Breaking well from post 1 under John Velazquez, Gamine was tracked closely by Estilo Talentoso through an opening quarter in :23.20 and a half-mile in :45.68. Shaking loose from that rival in upper stretch, Gamine edged away and held a safe 1 3/4-length margin at the wire.
“I didn’t think there was much speed in the race. She’s a nice horse to relax. If they went fast, she was going to go fast. If they went slow, she was going to go slow, so that’s what I like about her. When she’s in the lead, she’s in control of herself,” Velazquez said.
Owned by Michael Lund Peterson and trained by Bob Baffert, Gamine paid $2.70 after completing seven furlongs over a fast track in 1:21.61. She toted top weight of 126 pounds, conceding three to eight pounds to her rivals.
“I was very nervous today, only because she was giving so much weight away, so you just never know,” Peterson said. “I was thrilled to see she got the start we wanted.”
Lake Avenue finished second in the Ballerina, 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Ce Ce. Sconsin, Estilo Talentoso, Truth Hurts, and Casual completed the order of finish.
The Ballerina awarded an automatic bid to the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) at Del Mar in November. Gamine clinched the 2020 female sprint crown with an emphatic 6 1/4-length victory in that race, which was held at Keeneland.
The Ballerina was the ninth win in 10 career starts for Gamine, who also accounted for the Acorn (G1) and Test (G1) last year. Gamine recorded wins earlier this season in the Las Flores (G3), Derby City Distaff (G1), and Great Lady M. (G2), and has bankrolled $1,681,500.
A $1.8 million juvenile purchase, Gamine is by Into Mischief and out of the stakes-placed Peggy Jane, by Kafwain. She was bred in Kentucky by Grace Thoroughbred Holdings.