The closers came flying at Absolutely Queenie yesterday, but none could catch her.
As a result, the 35-1 long shot captured the $75,000 All Brandy Stakes with a front-running performance over 1 1/8 miles on the turf.
It was an exhilarating maiden ride on the filly for jockey Robby Albarado.
"I had never ridden her before, so I let her break on her own," said Albarado. "She didn't break as well as I would have liked, but she went to the lead on her own. She relaxed comfortably down the backstretch and when I asked her to slow it down, she rated kindly."
Favored Tough Broad then came running, followed closely by second choice Reeve's Lib. But Absolutely Queenie had plenty left.
"I asked her to respond and she gave me everything she had," said Albarado. "I would love it if every horse I rode for the first time ran like that."
Based in Delaware, Absolutely Queenie won for only the third time in 28 career starts, beating Tough Broad by 2 1/4 lengths. Reeve's Lib was third, another length back.
The winning share of $45,000 was more than double the previous lifetime earnings of Absolutely Queenie, who had never won a stakes race.
Failed to fire
The biggest disappointment in the De Francis Dash was second choice J J'sdream, the gray filly who beat Capote Belle in her last outing at Arlington Park.
She never got started in the race and finished next to last, more than seven lengths behind winner Smoke Glacken.
"She acted up just slightly in the gate and stumbled at the start," said jockey Mark Guidry.
Another who did not run well was Political Whit, who was expected to push Smoke Glacken for the lead.
"When we ran up to assume the lead, we were headed by Smoke Glacken," said jockey Edgar Prado. "We went on to the quarter pole, but just couldn't keep up."
Wild wagering day
Pari-mutuel wagering on De Francis Dash day set a record.
The eighth running drew a total of $5,651,019 at all of the state outlets and simulcast sites around the country.
That shattered the 1996 figure of $4,731,690 by almost $1 million.
Pub Date: 7/20/97