05/04/2007 12:00AM

Rated Fiesty splashes to win


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Trainer Steve Asmussen won his fifth $150,000 Kentucky Breeders’ Cup Stakes on Thursday as Rated Fiesty splashed her way to a 4 1/2-length victory in the Grade 3 stakes race for 2-year-olds at Churchill Downs.

Asmussen previously won this race with Posse (2002), Cuvee (2003), Lunarpal (2004) and Datrick (2006). The race was not run in 2005. Rated Fiesty became the seventh filly to win in this race’s 19-year history.

Despite a steady rain that fell throughout the day, a crowd of 20,037 attended the races on Thursday.

After breaking sharply under Shaun Bridgmohan and running an opening quarter in 22.28 seconds over the sloppy main track, Rated Fiesty was headed by Yogi’ssplashofgold approaching the quarter pole. But Rated Fiesty turned back that rival turning for home and cruised home an easy winner.

Yogi’ssplashofgold finished second by three lengths over 7-5 favorite Ready’s Image.

Rated Fiesty, a daughter of Exchange Rate owned and bred by Heiligbrodt Stable, covered the five furlongs in 57.46 seconds and returned $9.80 to win.

Rated Fiesty, who won a 4 1/2-furlong maiden race at Keeneland on April 21, had to be supplemented to the race for a fee of $7,500.

``She always showed a little talent but she’s petty small, so we thought we’d do the nice thing [and wait],’’ said Asmussen, who also saddled fourth-place finisher Wonderful Luck. ``Then we ran her and she’s the fastest one. Mr. Heiligbrodt said our philosophy has always been to run the fastest one, so let’s supplement and go.’’

Jockey John Velazquez, the rider of Ready’s Image, said his colt had trouble handling the slop

``Big time,’’ he said. ``It’s amazing we were third. I didn’t think we were going anywhere.’’