HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - It has been well documented how loaded trainer Todd Pletcher is for this year's Kentucky Derby. Well, it appears he will be well-represented in the Kentucky Oaks as well.
Devil May Care, a Grade 1 winner in her second career start, rebounded from a disappointing 3-year-old debut with a 2 3/4-length victory in Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000 Bonnie Miss Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Amen Hallelujah, the 3-2 favorite, finished second, five lengths ahead of Joanie's Catch. They were followed in the order of finish by Switch, Christine Daae, and Danny's Friend.
It was the third win from five starts for Devil May Care, a daughter of Malibu Moon owned by David Greathouse's Glencrest Farm. As a 2-year-old, Devil May Care won her first two starts, including the Grade 1 Frizette.
After failing to handle the synthetic surface in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita, Devil May Care finished fifth in the Silverbulletday Stakes at Fair Grounds where she misbehaved at the gate and never really got to run her race, according to Pletcher.
On Saturday, under John Velazquez, Devil May Care raced a close-up and ground-saving fourth behind Switch, Amen Hallelujah, and Christine Daae, who raced in close proximity through fractions of 23.68 seconds, 47.21, and 1:10.76 for the opening six furlongs.
Amen Hallelujah, under Julien Leparoux poked her head in front at the three-eighths pole and took the lead turning for home. But Velazquez moved Devil May Care between horses turning for home, tackled Amen Hallelujah in upper stretch, and drew clear despite veering in badly and switching to her wrong lead in the stretch. Devil May Care covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.06 and returned $16.20 to win.
"I was not surprised what she did today," Pletcher said. "She continued to train well, I didn't lose any confidence. Obviously, she was looking around. She made the lead so easily. She saw the outrider's pony at the eighth pole, the starting gate at the sixteenth pole. She runs like a horse that might need blinkers, but you'd hate to make a change off a race like that, but we'll think about it."
Pletcher confirmed that Devil May Care would make her next start in the Kentucky Oaks on April 30 at Churchill Downs. Three previous Bonnie Miss winners have won the Kentucky Oaks, the last being Dispute in 1993.
- additional reporting by Mike Welsch