Barry King’s Flashy Lassie, the longest shot in a field of seven 2-year-old fillies, charged through the Churchill Downs stretch, caught Five Star Momma inside the eighth-pole and edged clear late to win Saturday’s 111th running of the Grade III, $109,300 Debutante Stakes by a widening length.
Flashy Lassie, trained by Garry Simms and ridden by Kent Desormeaux, returned mutuels of $37.20, $14.20 and $6.80 as she scored her second victory in as many starts. Terry Allen’s Five Star Momma was second returning $5.80 and $4.40. and Stoneway Farm’s Queen Teuta rallied to finish more than eight lengths back in third and returned $4.60 to show. Bred in Kentucky by Mr. & Mrs. Hugh G. King, Flashy Lassie completed the six furlongs on the fast main track in 1:10.89.
The victory marked the first stakes win beneath the historic Twin Spires for Simms, who has waged a battle with melanoma since early 2010.
“I’ve had two bone marrow transplants and stem cells since December, but I’m doing well now,” Simms said. When asked how this win makes him feel, Simms responded by saying, “All the pain leaves!”
Flashy Lassie collected a graded stakes victory in just her second career start and picked up a winner’s check worth $66,411 to increase her bankroll to $77,211. Her other win was a nine-length romp in a race for $20,000 claiming horses at Churchill Downs on May 13.
Flashy Lassie was reserved in sixth position in the early going as Gold Mark Farm LLC’s Culotte, the 8-5 post time favorite, led the strung out field through fast fractions of :21.57 and :45.16. Desormeaux began to move with the daughter of Flashy Bull at the three-eighths pole and set his filly down for the drive at the top of the stretch. Flashy Lassie closed with a furious run on the outside and caught Five Star Momma, who was more than two-lengths clear in mid-stretch, near the finish and quickly drew clear.
Priscilla Vaccarezza’s My Due Process finished fourth in the Debutante and was followed in order by Tippy Toes, Culotte and Shocktime. Defy Gravity was a late scratch.
The six-furlong Debutante is the nation’s first graded stakes event for 2-year-old fillies and has been won by such accomplished runners as champions Bewitch, Alcibiades and Silverbulletday.
Racing continues Sunday at Churchill Downs with a 10-race program highlighted by a Pick 6 carryover of $98,241 that begins with Race 5 at 2:51 p.m. EDT. First post Sunday is 12:45 p.m.
DEBUTANTE STAKES QUOTES
Garry Simms, trainer of Flashy Lassie (winner): “I have to give all the credit to (jockey) Kent (Desormeaux). They were flying up front and he just took his time. I told him not to pay any attention to that maiden 20 (thousand dollar claiming) win because, believe me, she could have won a maiden special (weight). She’s a nice filly, has a ton of heart and does everything right. She’s smart. I bought her for $4,000 so this is a blessing.”
Q: On his battle with melanoma: “I’ve had two bone marrow transplants and stem cells since December, but I’m doing well now.”
Q: Well, how does something like this make you feel? “All the pain leaves! That’s what I tell everybody, ‘There’s nothing like winning a horse race.’”
Kent Desormeaux, jockey of Flashy Lassie (winner): “For a second-time starter, she was very mature and very professional. She was very well trained and I think that’s why she won today. I asked a lot of her for her second start. I took her back and she got dirt kicked in her face for the first time. She never hopped at all; she stayed flat and level and gave me a true ride. She laid it out there. She didn’t want to catch that filly the last eighth of a mile and I had to really get into her. She was fully extended.”
Corey Lanerie, jockey of Five Star Momma (second): “I had a good trip and she sat right off (the leaders) – just perfect and in a good position. When I got to the quarter pole I was on cruise control and sat her down. Maybe just before the sixteenth pole she started to get a little late with me and that’s when the winner ran me down.”
Calvin Borel, jockey of Queen Teuta (third): “She ran good. I was very impressed. I thought she finished up a little bit but they went quick early and backed ‘em up at the half (mile pole). She ran good, though.”
Robby Albarado, jockey of My Due Process (fourth): “She broke a little tardy, but I didn’t rush her. I got a good pace in front of me and drafted as much as I could. On the turn for home, she gave me a little run but it ended up being minimal.”
Leandro Goncalves, jockey of Culotte (sixth as the 8-5 favorite): “She broke out of the gate really fast and was a little fresh today. I tried to get to relax but she had way too much speed and she had company. After that, she just didn’t finish.”
Bret Calhoun, trainer of Shocktime (seventh as 5-2 second choice): “The two favorites (Culotte and Shocktime) went out there too fast, but (jockey) Miguel (Mena) did a good job of switching out. They were still rolling, though. The pace and probably coming back in two weeks was probably too much to ask.”