By Dick Jerardi
The brilliant 2-year-old filly Vequist may not have won the Grade I Frizette at Belmont Park, but she ran a winning race while finishing second. So trainer Butch Reid will try to extend the Parx streak of winning a Breeders’ Cup race to three on Nov. 6 when Vequist runs in the BC Juvenile Fillies at Keeneland.
“I’m happy with the race, but I would like to have won,’’ Reid said. “I think we were definitely as good as the winner…We couldn’t be any happier, only if we had won the race.’’
The Frizette winner, Dayoutoftheoffice, is unbeaten in three starts. It was trainer Tim Hamm’s first Grade I win.
Vequist already won a Grade I when she dominated the Spinaway closing weekend at Saratoga. The way she ran in the Frizette strongly suggests there are more Grade I wins in her future.
Vequist was not helped by her post position or a passive ride from typically aggressive Luis Saez. The filly, who broke from post 1, stumbled slightly at the start, but was quickly second with a wide-open rail path in front of her. Instead of sending her through to challenge for the lead, Saez just sat there and let Dayoutoftheoffice and her jockey Junior Alvarado get just to their outside, essentially trapping Vequist in place during most of the run down the backstretch and through much of the far turn.
Alvarado moved first and Dayoutoftheoffice quickly opened a 2-length lead coming out of the turn. Saez immediately reacted to that move, but giving a good filly first run was a tactical mistake. Dayoutoftheoffice got that lead and held it to the wire, winning by those same 2 lengths, both fillies running really hard through the wire. It was 10 lengths back to the third horse.
“You get up inside of them and put the (decision) on them,’’ Reid said. “The rail was fine because the horse (Happy Saver) later in the Jockey Club Gold Cup squeezed through on the fence (to win).’’
If the posts had been switched, it may have been Vequist and her jockey who could have controlled the race and gotten first run.
The BC Juvenile Fillies should be some race, with unbeaten Princess Noor coming from the West Coast for Bob Baffert and Simply Ravishing, the super impressive Alcibiades winner for trainer Ken McPeek among the major contenders.
Vequist will train at Parx until she ships to Keeneland a little more than a week before the race so she can get a timed workout over the track.
Reid has run two horses in BC races. Afleet Again won the 2011 Marathon at 41-1. Poseidon’s Warrior, Reid’s other Grade I winner in addition to Vequist, ran last in the 2012 Sprint. So he is batting .500 in the BC, with a chance to move his average to .667.
It was two years ago when Parx-based Jaywalk won the BC Juvenile Fillies for trainer John Servis. Last year, trainer Carlos Guerrero won the BC Dirt Mile with Parx-based Spun to Run. So there is a bit of pressure on Reid.
“I’ve got to keep the tradition going,’’ he said.