Phoenix Thoroughbred III's CRAZY BEAUTIFUL made short work of her rivals in capturing Saturday's 69th running of the $300K Delaware Oaks (G3) at Delaware Park.
It was a muddy affair, but the track was listed as "Good (Sealed)" by the start of the race. The daughter of LIAM'S MAP gave trainer Ken McPeek his first ever Delaware Oaks victory.
Ridden by Mike Smith and sent off as the $0.30-to-win favorite, CRAZY BEAUTIFUL broke alertly and took a tracking position in third, while 19-1 longshot ORBS BABY GIRL set early fractions of 23.75 and 48.22. She rated patiently outside of horses through the backstretch.
With three furlongs to go, Mike Smith taps her on the shoulder and CRAZY BEAUTIFUL strides forward instantly, seizing the lead at the top of stretch before drawing clear under a hand-ride to win by six lengths. MIDNIGHT OBSESSION finished second. It was another three lengths back to LEADER OF THE BAND in third. The final time for the one mile and one-sixteenth was 1:46.33.
"She jumped better than she ever has leaving the gate," said Mike Smith. "It has always been a little bit of a problem with her. I was really happy with that just because of the track being good and because there was not a lot of speed in the race, I wanted to be somewhat closer. We had one tiny anxious moment just past the 3/8ths pole when they picked it up and she kind of lost focus briefly. I barely touched her and she threw me into the rumble seat. That is when I knew we would be fine. After that, it was just all her. I took a peek at the big screen and I felt like I was watching Sunday night football." (Paulick Report)
CRAZY BEAUTIFUL paid $2.60 to win, $2.10 to place, and $2.10 to show. She is by LIAM'S MAP out of INDIAN BURN by INDIAN CHARLIE. She's now won two graded stakes races in a row, and pushed her earnings to $700,865.
"It was a bit of a public workout today," said winning trainer Ken McPeek, who did not make the trip to Delaware.
McPeek recalled his conversation with Mike Smith leading up to the race, finding it delightfully humorous that the Hall of Fame rider was asking for instructions.
"He[Smith] called me earlier and asked for instructions, and I said, ‘Are you kidding me?'" McPeek laughed. "Just do what you do well." (Frank Vespe, The Racing Biz)
Source: Equibase, Frank Vespe, The Racing Biz, Paulick Report