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Stars align for Fierce Lady in Seeking the Ante

Friday, August 23rd, 2019

By Sarah Mace

After suffering the narrowest of nose losses to My Italian Rabbi in the Stillwater Stakes on July 18, Fierce Lady bounced back in style on Saratoga Showcase Day. The dark bay daughter of Competitive Edge overcame a bump at the start and rallied from just off the pace to win the sixth running of the $200,000 Seeking the Ante for New York-bred 2-year-old fillies at 6 1/2 furlongs.

Trained by Dermot Magner, Fierce Lady made a big splash in her Belmont debut on June 22. Rocketing out of the gate, she never looked back, winning a 5-furlong sprint by 6 1/4 lengths. She completed the distance in 56.47, earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 87 and was dubbed a “TDN Rising Star.”

An eventful interlude followed before Fierce Lady took on My Italian Rabbi in the Stillwater. Her smashing debut earned her a spot in the Fasig-Tipton July selected horses of racing age sale. She made the trip and when the bidding stopped, the final offer of $725,000 did not meet Fierce Lady’s reserve, nor did the connections did conclude any post-sale deal.

The filly’s Fasig-Tipton consignor Archie St George explained the Fasig-Tipton outcome as follows: “The number they wanted was obviously big, but they race and she came here with the idea that if she brought what they wanted, great. If not, they can race her. I know that they thought she had a lot of talent as 2-year-old and they weren’t willing to sell her unless they got a premium.”

Sent off as the odds-on favorite under regular rider Javier Castellano, Fierce Lady did not have clean break, bumping and ending up in tight quarters, but was able to set up shop in in fourth on the back stretch, while 11-1 Time Limit took control of the pace, clocking sharp early fractions of 22.24 and 45.11 tracked intently by My Italian Rabbi

Advancing into third in the far turn with 1 1/2 lengths still to make up on the leader, Fierce Lady was asked in earnest in upper stretch.

Fierce Lady collared My Italian Rabbi in upper stretch, took a bead on the pacesetter, but Time Limit proved very tenacious. The pair dueled until the final strides when Fierce Lady was able to claim the top spot, ultimately securing the victory by a neck. Following six furlongs in 1:09.97, the final time for 6 1/2 panels was 1:16.73. [VIDEO REPLAY]

Castellano was pleased the way his mount adapted to being bumped and squeezed at the break. “I didn’t have the best start out of the gate and I liked the way she relaxed today,” the pilot said. “It means she doesn’t have to be on the lead or have to be close to the pace. I’m very happy the way the race unfolded. Now we know she can go either way, on the lead or come from behind. They stretched her out a little bit to go 6 1/2 [furlongs], and she showed that she can get the distance. I think we have a little potential with her.”

As to Fierce Lady’s fierce determination in the drive, Castellano said, “When I hooked [Time Limit], she never gave up. She kept trying, even past the wire galloping out. I liked the way she did it. She’s a fighter. Those little horses, they always try harder.”

Magner said, “We thought we’d be on the lead, but we weren’t, so Javier went to Plan B. She’s a little racehorse. I was hoping they were going pretty hard [up front] from where we were sitting. It was a brilliant ride, an intelligent ride.”

As to the future, Magner said, “We’ll take her back to Belmont and give her a few weeks off and look at the New York-bred races down there.”

Bred by Sugar Maple Farm, Fierce Lady is the most recent of three winners out of Anjorie, a New York-bred stakes-placed daughter of A. P Jet. Anjorie has also produced stakes placed Bluegrass Jamboree (Bluegrass Cat), who has earned over $300,000. Anjorie currently has a yearling filly by Brody’s Cause, no foal in 2019 and has been bred to Practical Joke.

Fierce Lady brought $52,000 as short yearling at the 2018 Keeneland January sale before Magner acquired her for $75,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale. She RNA’d for $170,000 at the OBS March sale after working a furlong in :10 flat. From two wins and a second in three starts, Fierce Lady has earned $164,100.

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