Delight Goes All The Way To Dominate ‘Win And You’re In’ Jessamine

George Strawbridge’s Delight led from start to finish in Friday afternoon’s Grade 2, $350,000 Jessamine Stakes at Keeneland, drawing clear of her rivals to post a five-length triumph in the “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. The 2-year-old daughter of Mendelssohn, trained by Johnathan Thomas and ridden by Luis Saez, completed 1 1/16 miles over the firm turf course in 1:44.14.

“(I credit her) good owner (for the progress she’s made since April), letting us take our time and pick the appropriate spots,” Thomas said. “Her ability to relax (impressed me most today). We were hoping to get her covered up, but she really relaxed. I love seeing her ears twitching back and forth. You’re always hoping you have horse, and she kicked away. That’s when you see (jockey) Luis (Saez) really, really good, when he’s on the lead like that. He’s so well rounded, but that’s when he’s absolutely brilliant.”

Delight was the post-time favorite at odds of 7-2, and gave her sire his first graded stakes-winning offspring. Bred in Kentucky by Hickstead Farm, she is out of the unraced Medaglia d’Oro mare Honey Trap and commanded a final bid of $400,000 at the OBS March sale of 2-year-olds in training. With two wins from four starts to her name, Delight’s earnings stand at $211,905.

“It was pretty easy (to get her to relax on the front end),” Saez said of the ride. “The plan was to follow somebody and have a target for the lead, but she broke so well and did it on her own. She controlled the pace and relaxed beautiful. When she came to the top of the stretch, it was all about her. She (accelerated) pretty fast (at the top of the stretch). She had a big turn of foot and I didn’t really have to do anything – just keep going on with her and she did it.”

The full order of finish is as follows: Delight, Knockyoursocksoff, Bling, Sabalenka, C C Cruise Control, Dulcia, Happy Gal, Towhead, Blind Spot, Stephanie’s Charm, Recognize, and Promise of Hope.

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