11/26/2011 6:28PM

Fair Grounds: Daisy Devine cruises in Pago Hop

Lou Hodges Jr.
Daisy Devine, with James Graham riding, wins the Pago Hop.

NEW ORLEANS - Turf or dirt, Daisy Devine loves the Fair Grounds. Winner of the Fair Grounds Oaks on the main track last season, Daisy Devine ran her grass record to 2 for 2 with an easy win Saturday in the $75,000 Pago Hop Stakes.

Racing just off the mild pace of Love Dare, Daisy Devine and jockey James Graham seized command at the top of the stretch and comfortably held clear Ruthenia, winning by 2 1/4lengths.

“She loves this racetrack,” said Andy McKeever, who trains Daisy Devine for James Miller. “She breezes totally different down here.”

Ruthenia finished one length in front of Poof Too, who was followed by Artemus Kitten, Annabel Lee, Love Dare, Don’t Tell Sophia, and Maggies Ransom. Off fractions of 25.58 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, 50.l0 for the first half, and 1:14.45 for six furlongs, Daisy Devine was timed in 1:39.11 for one mile on a good turf course that took fairly heavy rain about 10 minutes before the race. Daisy Devine, a 3-year-old daughter of Kafwain out of Devil’s Dispute bred by J. Reiley McDonald and purchased for just $5,500, paid $5.40 as the favorite.

After finishing ninth in her career debut in October 2010, Daisy Devine won a $30,000 maiden claimer here last Dec. 2 before capturing an allowance race and finishing second in the Silverbulletday Stakes. She returned to win the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks, went off form over the summer while battling foot problems, but sprang back to her best when switched to turf Oct. 21 at Keeneland, winning the Grade 3 Valley View.

“We’re going to keep her down here and see what we’re going to do,” said McKeever. “We might keep her on turf for the time being.”