Updated on 09/15/2011 12:26PM

Dat You Miz Blue going to the top


ELMONT, N.Y. - She was coming off a smart performance, but these were much better fillies. Actually, her cause looked bleak, for she was head-and-head with the favorite through a punishing first quarter in 21.97 seconds and a draining half-mile in 44.32.

Instead of weakening, however, Dat You Miz Blue went from strength to strength in the stretch run of Saturday's $106,800 Vagrancy Handicap for fillies and mares at Belmont Park. With John Velazquez aboard, Dat You Miz Blue drew away with authority from the odds-on choice, Dream Supreme, to score by almost seven lengths. Dream Supreme, who won the Humana Distaff Handicap at Churchill Downs on Derby Day, had two lengths for second on Katz Me If You Can, winner of last month's Genuine Risk Handicap at Belmont.

The Vagrancy was the finest hour for Dat You Miz Blue, a 4-year-old daughter of Cure the Blues owned by Cynthia Knight. She could always run, as indicated by her record of eight wins and five seconds from 16 starts, but in past seasons she wasn't nearly as effective when she left the ranks of statebred fillies for open competition.

She sparkled here last month when she beat a field of New York-breds by almost seven lengths, getting six furlongs in 1:07.92. She was setting the stage for her tour de force in the Vagrancy.

Trainer Jimmy Jerkens attributes the progress to maturity and growing confidence. He notes that when Dat You Miz Blue broke from the gate last season she showed deficiencies in coordination. Now, he notes, she has gotten her act together, and with improvement at the gate, she has gained in confidence. Last summer at Saratoga, Jerkens tried her in Grade 1 competition and she finished fourth in the Test Stakes, won by Dream Supreme. These two fine fillies are likely to meet again at the Spa, in the $250,000 Ballerina Stakes at seven furlongs on Aug. 26, and that should be worth seeing.

Dat You Miz Blue was bred and owned by Cynthia Knight's late husband, Landon Knight, son of the distinguished publisher, John S. Knight of the Knight-Ridder newspapers. The senior Knight loved racing and had a nice stable headed by the good grass horse War Censor. Landon Knight, who fought poor health all his life, was even more devoted to racing. He was also a discerning breeder, and from a comparatively small broodmare band of 25 mares, shocked the racing world in 1997 by producing an Epsom Derby winner, Benny the Dip, trained in England by John Gosden.

Benny the Dip stood at stud in the U.S. at Claiborne Farm, and his first crop are 2-year-olds this season. Benny the Dip is now in England, however, on a two-year lease to the prominent Chevely Park Stud.

"John Gosden is training one for us by Benny the Dip," said Cynthia Knight, "and it would be great fun if he turned out to be a runner. Landon was so keen about racing that it would have been unthinkable not to continue the stable. We're trying to cut down the number of horses and improve the overall quality. We had 20 mares in foal this spring but like everybody else we lost a few.

"Jimmy Jerkens has some promising young horses for us at Belmont Park, and of course we're excited about Dat You Miz Blue. See you at Saratoga."