Gamine Easy Victor In Ballerina, Earns Spot In BC Filly & Mare Sprint

In the Grade 1 Ballerina at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Gamine sprinted to her fifth G1 victory, taking the lead early in the seven-furlong stakes and holding off late challenges from Ce Ce and Lake Avenue to earn a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.

A last-out winner in the Grade 2 Great Lady M Stakes at Los Alamitos, the Bob Baffert-trained 4-year-old filly came into the Ballerina as the prohibitive favorite off of four consecutive victories dating back to her win in the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky. in early November. Breaking from post one, the daughter of leading North American sire Into Mischief went to the lead as expected, with Estilo Talentoso in second. After a first quarter in :23.20 and a half-mile in :45.60, Gamine and John Velazquez held a three-length lead into the far turn, with Estilo Talentoso still in second and Lake Avenue third.

Into the stretch, with Lake Avenue on the rail and Ce Ce to her outside, Gamine maintained her front-running status, holding off the two closers by a length and three-quarters at the wire. The time for the seven-furlong Ballerina was 1:21.61. Lake Avenue was second, Ce Ce third, with Sconsin, Estilo Talentoso, Truth Hurts, and Casual round out the order of finish.

Find this race’s chart here.

The G1 Ballerina is a Win and You’re In event for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint Nov. 6 at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar, Calif. The winner of Win and You’re In events earn a fees-paid guaranteed spot in the starting gate for the corresponding Breeders’ Cup race.

Gamine paid $2.70, $2.30, and $2.10. Lake Avenue paid $7.10 and $3.70. Ce Ce paid $2.80.

“We were down in the one-hole, so you have to break and go from there. She handled the gate well, broke well and Johnny [Velazquez] put her in the race,” Baffert assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes said after the race. “The 23 [second quarter-mile] felt pretty comfortable, 45 was pretty comfortable. [They were gaining on her] slightly, but once Johnny got her to switch leads, I wasn’t really concerned. They were moving but we were still running.”

“She just kind of waited and then by the quarter pole, I asked her for what she needed to do, and she got it done,” Velazquez told the NYRA Press office. “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.”

Bred by Grace Thoroughbred Holdings, Gamine is out of the Kafwain mare Peggy Jane. Consigned by Bobby Dodd, she was purchased by owner Michael Lund Peterson at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Midatlantic Two-Year-Olds InTraining Sale for $1.8 million. Her win in the G1 Ballerina is her fourth victory in four starts in 2021, for a lifetime record of nine wins in 10 starts and $1,681,500 in career earnings.

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