The monstrous shadow of Gamine will emerge from her five-month vacation on Sunday when the Champion Female Sprinter of 2020 makes her 4-year-old debut in the Grade 3 Las Flores Stakes at Santa Anita Park.
She will likely make it as the odds-on favorite for the six-furlong Las Flores. The $100,000 sprint for older fillies and mares offers Gamine only three other competitors. The only mare who could make Gamine work is her Bob Baffert stablemate, Qahira, who’s making her third start of 2021.
It shouldn’t be too much of a sweat, since none of 5-year-old Qahira’s five career victories came in a graded stakes. Nor should it be a sweat for a filly used to going off at subterranean odds. This is Gamine’s sixth career race, and she’s been favored in all of them. She’s has gone off at even-money or odds-on in five of the six.
This includes her last outing, the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint last November. There, Gamine went off at even-money and destroyed the field by 6 ¼ lengths, recording a career-best 121 Equibase Speed Figure. It also includes two Grade I’s, the Acorn Stakes at Belmont Park last June and the Test Stakes at Saratoga in August. Gamine won those two sprints by a combined 25 ¾ lengths.
Speed figures set Gamine apart
Gamine’s last five Equibases were 121, 108, 118, 112, and 107. The 108 came in the Kentucky Oaks, where she finished a disappointing third and was subsequently disqualified to last over a positive drug sample. She clocked the 118 in the Test, and the 112 in the Acorn.
After that Oaks disappointment, where Gamine seemed to hit a wall in the middle of the stretch, Baffert wisely took her back to sprinting. The result was that record Breeders’ Cup score, where Gamine set the Keeneland seven-furlong track record of 1:20.20.
Gamine cost Pandora Jewelry baron Michael Lund Petersen $1.8 million in 2019. He supplemented his prize filly into the Las Flores for $2,000, seeking her fifth career victory in seven official starts. She comes in with earnings of $883,000. By comparison, her three foes, Qahira, Hang a Star, and Biddy Duke, own combined earnings of $674,631.
Gamine’s two off-the-board finishes were in that Kentucky Oaks and in an allowance last May at Oaklawn Park. Both came after she failed post-race drug tests.