Updated on 09/15/2011 2:35PM

Batique sheds blinkers and scores


MIAMI - Trainer Michael Matz took the blinkers off Batique for Saturday's $100,000, Grade 3 My Charmer Handicap* (click here for chart), hoping to get her to relax. But after watching her drop nearly a half-dozen lengths off the pace during the opening half-mile, Matz - the former Olympic equestrian rider - began to think Batique might be relaxing a bit too much.

But in the end Matz and jockey Jorge Chavez's strategy paid off, and Batique rallied gamely down the middle of the course to wear down a determined Please Sign In and score a popular half-length victory.

"I was hoping she didn't get into a speed duel with Please Sign In, but I didn't think she'd be that far back," said Matz, who won a silver medal in the 1996 Olympic Games. "But it looks like all the work my exercise rider has done in the morning to get her to relax, and removing the blinkers, paid off. And I'm really glad to see her be able to run like this."

Please Sign In set a fairly leisurely pace, with Chavez allowing Batique to settle in fifth position, six lengths off the leader down the backstretch. Batique began to advance gradually outside rivals leaving the backstretch, and then gradually wore down the leader in the final sixteenth of a mile. Wander Mom prompted the pace and held on to finish third, another length behind Please Sign In.

Batique, a 5-year-old daughter of Storm Cat and Serape owned by Helen K. Groves, paid $6 as the favorite in a field of 12 fillies and mares. She covered the distance in 1:49:85 over a good course.

Ms Brookski wins Three Ring

Ms Brookski rebounded from an eventful trip in the Lulu's Ransom Stakes on turf Nov. 10 to score an easy four-length main-track win over 7-5 favorite Stormy Frolic in the $100,000 Three Ring Stakes for 2-year-old fillies.

Ms. Brookski, who broke slowly and then clipped heels in the Lulu's Ransom, came away alertly to stalk the pace of Stormy Frolic, then readily ran that rival down and drew off in the final furlong. Stormy Frolic held on willingly once replaced on the lead to finish a length before Redoubled Miss.

Ms. Brookski, owned by Phil Combest and trained by his father Reed Combest, returned $9.40 after running 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.65 on a fast track. Her final time was better than a second faster than the colts ran in the What a Pleasure Stakes.

"She's a better filly whenever she can see the horses up front," said the elder Combest. "I think she'll be a better 3-year-old than a 2-year-old, and I'm anxious to get her back on the turf."

O'rocky wins What a Pleasure at 22-1

O'rocky, the longest shot on the board at 22-1, survived an early pace battle and then drew off to an impressive 2 1/2-length victory over fellow longshot Speedy Leon in the $100,000 What a Pleasure for 2-year-olds.

O'rocky disputed a relatively slow pace with Dr. Greeley and repulsed several challenges in early stretch before exploding away from the pack in the final furlong. Speedy Leon rallied wide into the stretch and outfinished The Judge Sez You after bumping solidly with that rival near midstretch. A claim of foul by Eibar Coa, the rider of The Judge Sez Who, against Speedy Leon was disallowed.

O'rocky, a son of Birdonthewire, is trained by Eddie Plesa Jr. for owner Bea Oxenberg. He paid $46.40. His time for 1 1/16 miles was 1:47.08.

My Charmer Handicap Chart*

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