DIMINUTIVE BIDDY DUKE ALL HEART IN TAKING GRADE III, $100,000 SENATOR KEN MADDY STAKES BY A HEAD AS HERNANDEZ & O’NEILL TEAM FOR 5 ½ FURLONG TURF WIN IN 1:02.03
ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 24, 2020)–Easily one of the smallest horses on the grounds, trainer Doug O’Neill’s speedy Biddy Duke showed tremendous gameness late in taking Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Senator Ken Maddy Stakes at Santa Anita. Ridden for the first time by Juan Hernandez, the 3-year-old daughter of Bayern got 5 ½ furlongs on turf in 1:02.03 while prevailing by a head over Jo Jo Air.
Breaking like a shot from her number two post position, Biddy Duke out-footed Jo Jo Air to the far turn and had a one length advantage turning for home. With a host of pursuers, led by “Jo Jo” set to pounce a furlong out, Biddy Duke, who may not stand quite 14 hands tall, simply would not be denied while hand-ridden late.
“She’s really fast and she’s one of the smallest horses I’ve ever ridden,” said Hernandez, who picked up his second win on the day. “I knew we were going fast, but she was comfortable, so I let her go. When she saw that other filly come to us, she really fought back. She’s small but she’s got a big heart.”
Claimed for $40,000 six starts back on May 23 and most recently third over the course in the Unzip Me Stakes Sept. 26, Biddy Duke was off at 9-1 in a field of six fillies and mares and paid $20.20, $8.00 and $4.80.
“This filly has been so honest ever since we got her,” said Leandro Mora, assistant to O’Neill. “The idea was just to not go to the lead, just go close to the lead…Juan said she never quit, when he asked her, she just came back and that’s all you see.
“We just pray and do the best we can.”
Owned by Joe Besecker, Biddy Duke, who is out of the Ghostzapper mare Ghostslayer, notched her first-ever stakes win and improved her overall mark to 20-7-5-3. With the winner’s share of $60,000, she increased her earnings to $280,332.
Breaking from the rail, Jo Jo Air ran a huge race in defeat, prevailing by one length over longshot An Eddie Surprise for second money. Ridden by Flavien Prat, Jo Jo Air was the second choice at 5-2 and paid $4.00 and $3.00.
With Mario Gutierrez up, An Eddie Surprise, one of three O’Neill entrants, was off at 9-1 and paid $4.00 to show while out-finishing Aqua Seaform Shame by a neck.
Ridden by Abel Cedillo, heavily favored Magic At Midnight, who was off at 4-5, saved ground while a close fifth at the top of the lane, but never threatened from there while finishing next to last.
Fractions on the race were 21.80, 44.60 and 56.09.