07/23/2017 8:56PM

Nikki My Darling sets Belterra track record in Queen City Oaks

Coady Photography
Nikki My Darling set a track record for 1 1/8 miles as she romped in the Queen City Oaks on July 23, 2017 at Belterra Park.

Nikki My Darling not only handled some added distance on Sunday in the $75,000 Norm Barron Queen City Oaks – she did so with style. The filly led at every call for a 6 1/2-length score in the event for Ohio-bred 3-year-old fillies, establishing a track record for 1 1/8 miles in the process.

This was the fourth victory in six starts this year for the Creative Cause filly, who is trained by Jeffrey Radosevich for Loooch Racing Stables and partner Imaginary Stables. All her prior wins this year, including the Southern Park Stakes, came at six furlongs, and she had never attempted this nine-furlong distance. In her most recent outings before the Queen City Oaks, she was runner-up in the Tomboy Stakes at 1 1/16 miles, and then sixth after showing speed for a half in the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes at Belmont Park – won by Abel Tasman, who has moved to the head of the 3-year-old filly division nationally with three top-level triumphs.

In the Queen City Oaks, Nikki My Darling ($2.80) again used her early speed, but rated kindly for jockey Luis Conlon, leaving her with something in reserve. Away from post position 3, she quickly assumed command of the race and was in hand through early splits of 23.87 and 47.40 seconds, leading My Ticket Home by a half-length. Conlon let his mount out a notch after that half, and she began to widen her lead. On top by three lengths in upper stretch, she continued to power clear despite running a bit erratically in the late stages, crossing the line 6 1/2 lengths in front in a time of 1:49.41.

My Ticket Home easily held sway for second, crossing the line 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Cali Dream.