03/25/2017 3:06PM

Nikki My Darling finishes fast to win Southern Park Stakes

Conrad Photography
The 3-year-old filly Nikki My Darling, ridden by Luis Colon, makes up a two-length deficit in the final furlong to win the Southern Park by two lengths.

Odds-on favorite Nikki My Darling needed almost the entire length of the stretch to run down 16-1 longshot Conumdrum Red, but she got the job done to win the season’s first stakes in Ohio, the $75,000 Southern Park Stakes for Ohio-bred 3-year-old fillies Saturday at Mahoning Valley Race Course.

Conumdrum Red, making her first start since winning her career debut last July 1 at Thistledown, looked like a winner when she opened up a two-length advantage with an eighth of a mile remaining in the six-furlong sprint. But Nikki My Darling came with a rush inside the sixteenth pole under Luis Colon and drew clear by two lengths, completing the distance in 1:15.64 for her third victory in six career starts.

Shes My Girl, a 27-1 outsider cutting back to a sprint after four consecutive routes, checked in third, 2 3/4 lengths behind runner-up Conumdrum Red.

Nikki My Darling wore saddlecloth number 13 but broke from post 11 after two fillies scratched. She became just the sixth horse to win from post 11 from 117 starters (5 percent) in six-furlong races at Mahoning Valley over the past two seasons.

“She was so good today,” Colon said. “We broke very fast and when I saw several of the horses inside of me gunning for the lead, I decided to let them go and was able to get her to relax and work out a perfect tracking trip while in the clear. She responded when I asked her to go after the leader turning for home and although it took us a little longer than I expected to get past Sarvis I was never really worried and we won going away in the end.”

A $100,000 purchase at the 2-year-olds in training sale in March 2016t, Nikki My Darling is a daughter of Creative Cause trained by Jeff Radosevich for Looch Racing Stables and Imaginary Stables.

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