08/06/2017 8:15PM

Miss Wilby kicks away in First Episode Stakes

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Miss Wilby won the early pace battle on Sunday and never looked back on her way to an open-lengths score in the $54,000 First Episode Stakes for Massachusetts-breds at Suffolk Downs.

The 5-year-old Imperialism mare broke sharply from the outside post, and challenged Malibu Ice for the early lead. Malibu Ice carried a one-length lead through the first turn and into an opening quarter in 24.99. Favorite Princess Dream tried to move off the rail to a contending spot, but was checked by her rider after floating too close to Miss Wilby.

Miss Wilby gained ground on longshot Malibu Ice through the backstretch, and was within a head of her foe after the first half-mile, set in 48.96 seconds.

Malibu Ice faded quickly after Miss Wilby moved past her on the outside, leaving Princess Dream as thenew  leader’s primary challenger through the final turn. However, the favorite could not sustain her bid, and jockey Tammi Piermarini gave Miss Wilby plenty of urging coming out of the turn and down the stretch to ensure she would face no more challengers.

Miss Wilby crossed the line seven lengths ahead of runner-up Jeb, who improved her position on the rail. Princess Dream carried on for third, three lengths behind the second-place runner.

The final time for the one mile and 70 yard race was 1:44.52. Miss Wilby, a Massachusetts homebred trained by Antonio Arriaga for Langdon Wilby and Mary Beth Reis, paid $6.20 to win as the second choice.

The First Episode was the second stakes win on Sunday’s card for Piermarini. 

Miss Wilby improved her career record to 11 wins in 29 career starts, with earnings of $353,718. It was her fifth career stakes victory and her second overall win of the year.