12/22/2012 5:39PM

Fair Grounds: Daisy Devine turns Blushing K.D. Handicap into paid workout

Hodges Photography/Alexander Barkoff
Daisy Devine leads her overmatched rivals into the stretch of the Blushing K.D.

At odds of 1-5, Daisy Devine was supposed to go out and whip up on the four horses that raced against her Saturday at Fair Grounds in the $72,000 Blushing K.D. Handicap. She did not disappoint.

Shrugging off early mild pressure from hopeless longshot Necessary Luxury, Daisy Devine was in a race with herself for most of the Blushing  K.D. She led by one length after a half-mile in 49.42 seconds and by 3 1/2 lengths after six furlongs in 1:13.80, and even there, Daisy Devine had not yet begun to really run.

Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. asked for acceleration at the top of the homestretch and Daisy Devine instantly responded. She opened up an eight-length advantage at the stretch call and wound up beating Forest Uproar by six lengths after being geared down the final half-furlong.

“That was kind of a paid workout for her,” said Hernandez, subbing for James Graham, who is in Ireland with his ailing father.

Hernandez hadn’t ridden Daisy Devine in a couple seasons and was impressed by her development.

“Turning for home I let her switch leads, and then I smooched at her once, and she picked it up real quick. I was kind of surprised at how fast she picked it up because when I rode her as a 2-year-old she used to look around a lot. By the eighth pole I had to look back because I couldn’t believe how easily she was doing it.”

Daisy Devine, who paid a mere $2.40 to win, was timed in 1:44.12 for 1 1/16 miles on firm turf. It was almost 11 lengths back from runner-up Forest Uproar to third-place Francisca. Forgotten People and Artemus Kitten – the latter Daisy Devine’s main rival – were scratched.

Andrew McKeever trains Daisy Devine, a daughter of Kafwain, for owner James Miller. Miller bought the filly for just $5,500 as a yearling, and the winner’s share of Saturday’s purse brought her career earnings to almost $950,000. Daisy Devine is a Grade 1 winner, but McKeever said she may continue racing in listed Fair Grounds turf stakes, with the Marie Krantz on Jan. 19 a possible next start. Her main goal the first part of 2013 is the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley in April at Keeneland.