Storm Flag Flying, a daughter of Storm Cat and 1995 Juvenile Fillies winner My Flag, took the lead early in the stretch run of the 1 1/8-mile event. But as she relaxed her guard, Composure ranged up on her outside and seized the lead with a sixteenth of a mile to go.
"When she saw that other filly, she finally got going again," said a relieved winning rider, John Velazquez. He said Storm Flag Flying "dug in and come back."
"I really couldn't tell how much horse John had," said Composure's rider, Mike Smith. "She was kind of floundering." The answer was a winning rally by Storm Flag Flying, who won by 1/2 length. Santa Catarina was a distant third.
"In three jumps, she come back," Smith said. "My legs nearly buckled. I was at least a half-length in front."
Early in the race, Velazquez took Storm Flag Flying back off the lead to give his filly a chance to run into the pace. The final time was 1:49.60.
Storm Flag Flying paid $3.60, $2.60 and $2.20; Composure $3.40 and $2.80; Santa Catarina $3. The $2 exacta paid $12.80.
Storm Flag Flying, owned by Ogden Mills Phipps and trained by Shug McGaughey, now is undefeated in four starts. Coming into the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, she won both the Matron and the Frizette at Belmont Park.
The victory all but ensures Storm Flag Flying will be the 2-year-old filly champion in the Eclipse Award competition. She seemed destined for both the Breeders' Cup victory and the championship. Her dam, My Flag, not only won the 1995 Juvenile Fillies at Belmont Park, but also was sired by Easy Goer, who was second in both the 1988 Breeders' Cup Juvenile and the 1999 Breeders' Cup Classic. My Flag's dam was Personal Ensign, who retired undefeated after a dramatic victory in the 1998 Breeders' Cup Distaff.
"That's the bloodlines jumping out," McGaughey said of Storm Flag Flying's comeback move in the stretch.
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