Updated on 09/15/2011 12:43PM

Big Bambu beats two challenges

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Michael J. Marten/Horsephotos
Big Bambu dashes to victory in the Honorable Miss Stakes at Saratoga Wednesday.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Mission accomplished.

Big Bambu recorded the first graded stakes of her career Wednesday, outdueling Dat You Miz Blue early and holding off Country Hideaway late to win the Grade 3 $103,000 Honorable Miss Stakes by one length at Saratoga.

Country Hideaway rallied from last to be second, one-half length ahead of even-money favorite Dat You Miz Blue. Precious Feather finished last while Shine Again was scratched.

"This is very significant, this was our major purpose all year to get her to win a graded stakes," said trainer Alan Sobol, who trains Big Bambu for Edward Marshall and John Schoonover.

The race went as expected with Big Bambu, under Jerry Bailey, dueling with Dat You Miz Blue, under John Velazquez. But after a sixteenth of a mile, Velazquez eased Dat You Miz Blue off the rail to try to get to Big Bambu's outside. Dat You Miz Blue did put a head in front of Big Bambu in upper stretch, but she could not go on and began to fade by the eighth pole.

A fresh challenge came from Country Hideaway, but her run under Pat Day was too late. Big Bambu ($6) covered the six furlongs in 1:09.64.

"I figured even if the roles were reversed he would have taken off me a little bit," Bailey said of Velazquez. "It didn't surprise me. I think his horse would really have had to outbreak mine by a length or so to assume the lead and take it all away."

Velazquez said he tried to gun Dat You Miz Blue to the lead, but she couldn't outrun Big Bambu.

"I let him go and tried to get to the outside to try and get a clear trip," Velazquez said. "I got to him, I put a head in front, and thought I had him. The other one came back and she didn't put up a fight."

Sobol said he would talk to Bailey before deciding whether to bring Big Bambu back for the Grade 1 Ballerina on Aug. 19. That race is at seven furlongs. Big Bambu's only try at that distance resulted in a second-place finish in last year's Test Stakes.

Go to Saratoga coverage.