Updated on 09/17/2011 11:57AM

Ebony Breeze romps in Azalea


MIAMI - Ebony Breeze returned to the scene of her maiden win last fall to score the most important victory of her career, a 4 1/4-length romp over local favorite Storm Flag in the $300,000 .

Ebony Breeze, a 9 3/4-length winner in her only previous start at Calder in November, rushed to contention down the backstretch following a sluggish start in the Grade 3 Azalea. She overtook a tiring Storm Flag near midstretch and drew off. Storm Flag set demanding fractions of 21.59 and 44.81 seconds and outlasted Crafty Brat by 2 3/4 lengths to finish second.

Buffythecenterfold, the 9-5 favorite, broke slowly, raced wide around the turn, and was never in contention, finishing sixth in the field of 13 3-year-old fillies.

Ebony Breeze won three consecutive stakes this winter at Tampa Bay Downs, including the Grade 3 Florida Oaks, but had not started since finishing fourth in an allowance race on the Churchill Downs turf May 21. She is trained by Bill Mott for owner-breeder George Steinbrenner's Kinsman Stable.

Ebony Breeze ran six furlongs in 1:10.82 and paid $20.20.

"She needed a break after those three hard races going a distance and it did her a world of good," said assistant trainer Mark Shriver, who saddled Ebony Breeze in Mott's absence.