Saturday, April 2, 2011 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, Ky., April 2, 2011 – Blushing Dixie fought Miss Luann the length of the stretch and wore her down, taking the $50,000 Fairway Fun Stakes by a neck at Turfway Park Saturday. La Gran Bailadora was third, another length and a half back.
Blushing Dixie broke from the inside under Shaun Bridgmohan, in to ride the five-year-old mare for trainer Steve Margolis.
"I thought she had a nice trip behind the speed, and when I was ready I kind of came up the inside," said Bridgmohan. "I followed the horse I thought was the one to beat (Miss Luann) and there was room on the inside so I went ahead and let her run up in there. She dug in and fought all the way to the wire. She gutted it out real well."
Blushing Dixie raced inside in third and fourth, two to three lengths behind the moderate pace set by the even-money favorite Miss Luann, who was pushed through the first six furlongs by Coastal Solace. Still inside, Bridgmohan moved Blushing Dixie close to the lead on the second turn, where just a couple of lengths covered the entire scratch-shortened field of five older fillies and mares. Entering the stretch, she came on between Miss Luann and La Gran Bailadora, the latter on the rail but later shifted out after she hesitated to move into the narrowing space. Just half a length behind the leader at the top of the stretch, Blushing Dixie drove relentlessly up the inside to get the win.
Miss Luann broke first, set the first three quarters in :24.73, : 49.16, and 1:13.88, and clocked the mile in 1:39.33 before Blushing Dixie got up to set the final time for the 1 1/16-mile race at 1:45.88.
Sweet Mis Kitty was fourth, followed by Coastal Solace. Seniga and Spring Party were scratched by their trainers.
Blushing Dixie was third choice at 7-2 and paid $9.80, $4.40, and $3.20.
The Fairway Fun was Blushing Dixie's first start at Turfway and her first career stakes win. A daughter of Dixie Union out of the Broad Brush mare Broad Queen, she was claimed for $25,000 last fall at Keeneland by Margolis for owner Doug Branham. She has three wins, two seconds, and seven thirds in 20 career starts, collecting $135,937 in earnings. A dozen of her starts have come on the turf.
Racing at Turfway continues at 1:10 p.m. Sunday, closing day of the winter/spring meet.