-- For a little filly, With Affection is plenty sassy, on and off the track. Trainer Eddie Gaudet called her "tough," not difficult, and he might feel he has to be kind because With Affection has begun to show signs of becoming a top racehorse.
With a startling, sweeping move leaving the far turn, With Affection came from off the pace to pass tiring leaders and gallop to an easy victory Saturday in the $50,000 Japan Racing Association Handicap on the turf at Pimlico Race Course.
In her final race before taking a winter vacation, the 3-year-old daughter of noted grass sire Red Ransom beat older horses for the third time this year while earning her first stakes victory.
"She's so aggressive," Gaudet said. "You go to pet her, she tries to bite you. You walk her, she tries to run off. But she focuses. Watch the film; she doesn't even look to see if other horses are coming."
One horse was coming in the stretch of the 11/6-mile race, favorite Lady of the Future, a rugged mare who has won more than $500,000 in her career. While With Affection tracked the almost impossibly slow leaders through six furlongs in 1 minute 18.04 seconds, Lady of the Future showed no speed at all, dragging along in seventh place.
Once the field hit the stretch, Lady of the Future finally unleashed her kick, but jockey Richard Monterrey had already moved to the lead on the winner.
"That horse just ran off," said jockey Travis Dunkelberger, who rode Lady of the Future. "She got the jump on me. She took off so fast and opened up four or five [lengths] on us. I had a ton of horse at the head of the lane, she was just better."
With Affection, third in her prior start in the Grade III $150,000 Martha Washington Breeders' Cup at Pimlico, won in a slow time of 1:50.83 over a soggy, rough turf course.
She has now won three of eight lifetime starts for owner Morris Bailey of New York with career earnings of $96,230 after costing just $20,000 at a Keeneland sale in 2002.
Racing Note: The two local horses traveling to Texas this week to compete in the Breeders' Cup had workouts Saturday. Mile contender Mr. O'Brien breezed six furlongs in 1:03 on the Pimlico dirt course under Robin Graham, one of only two women trainers running horses in the championships. After her turf specialist ran the final quarter-mile in a sharp 24 seconds, Graham rode back to the barn and simply said "Great" to owners Lou Rehak and Willie White.
Sprint long shot Abbondanza, whose owners opted to try the best in the country rather than wait for the Grade I $300,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash at their home track Nov. 20, worked a half-mile at Pimlico in a fast 464/5 seconds with jockey Mario Pino riding.