10/08/2010 6:12PM

Slow pace helps Wickedly Perfect steal Alcibiades

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Keeneland/Coady Photography
Wickedly Perfect, winner of the 2010 Darley Alcibiades, was sold for $800,000 on Monday at the Keeneland January sale.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – California invader Wickedly Perfect turned back all challengers after setting a moderate pace when proceeding to capture the 59th running of the Grade 1, $400,00 Darley Alcibiades Stakes before a sun-splashed crowd of 17,148 Friday, opening day of the Keeneland fall meet.

With Rafael Bejarano controlling the tempo, Wickedly Perfect strolled through fractions of 24.48 seconds, 50.19, and 1:15.95 over the Polytrack surface, pulling away down the stretch to win the 1 1/16-mile race by two lengths over late-running Harlan’s Ruby.

Wickedly Perfect returned $5 as the favorite after completing the distance  in 1:46.26.

“What a feeling,” said a jubilant Doug O’Neill, who trains Wickedly Perfect in Southern California for the partnership of STD Racing, Rafter JR Ranch, and Peter Moehrke. “Rafael did such a brilliant job slowing everybody down. This is a quality filly. We’re just very pumped.”

The victory for Bejarano came some 30 minutes after he took the secondary feature of the 10-race opener, the Grade 3 Phoenix Stakes, aboard Wise Dan.

With temperatures passing 80 on an extraordinarily bright autumn afternoon, Wickedly Perfect broke swiftest from post 5 and immediately went to the rail. On the far turn, Wonderlandbynight and Dos Lunas tried her first, to no avail, and then a rail run by Jordy Y stalled out, allowing Wickedly Perfect to notch her third victory in four career starts. Her only loss was a runner-up finish in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante.

Harlans’ Ruby was up in the final jumps to get second by a nose over Jordy Y, with Wonderlandbynight, the 5-2 second choice, another 1 3/4 lengths back in fourth. Poof Too was an early scratch, leaving a field of seven.

Wickedly Perfect, a gray filly by Congrats, figures to be one of the favorites in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs.

Despite her obvious early speed, Wickedly Perfect “has always trained like a filly who’s wanted to run long,” said O’Neill. “Churchill Downs, here we come.”

Last year, the Alcibiades produced the top two finishers in the BC Juvenile Fillies in She Be Wild and Beautician.