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Contact: Jim Miller (708) 780-3700
ILLINOIS BREEDERS' DEBUTANTE STAKES RECAP
Saturday's feature, the $100,000 added Illinois Breeders' Debutante Stakes looked like a three-horse race coming in but it was longshot White O Morn who had her picture taken after the race.
Things seemed to be going according to plan early. Heavily favored Summer Mis grabbed the lead quickly while the unbeaten filly Penny Pit raced on almost even terms from the outside. By the time they turned for home, Penny Pit had faded and Summer Mis appeared to be on her way to victory. It wasn't to be.
"We just got outrun," said Randy Meier, aboard beaten favorite Summer Mis. "She was a little short today. She was sick awhile ago and missed a start. We put the other horse (Penny Pit) away easily. She was just a little bit empty at the end. She's a much better filly than she showed today. She's a super nice filly. You'll see a lot of her next year."
White O Morn, who had never been far out of it, started closing the gap around the turn. She found herself in second place as they left the turn, but still had two lengths to make up. Jockey Uriel Lopez went to work. He steered this recent maiden graduate to the outside and, stride by stride, cut into the lead. They were on relatively even terms with a sixteenth left to go. The rest of the field was left far behind.
"I owe it all to the horse and the trainer, said Uriel Lopez, winning jockey, White O Morn. "They are the ones that do the whole job all the time and they don't get too much recognition. Even the grooms. It takes a lot of people to get these horses ready. They spend all day over there. They worked her up to this race. I'm glad they did.
"I thank God I got the opportunity to ride her. I tried to do exactly what they wanted me to do and it worked out perfectly. You know the speed always comes back, especially when you have a couple fighting for the lead. They came back and I ran at them. She sat perfectly. She was able to relax. When I asked her she came running."
When they crossed the wire, White O Morn had a two-and-a-half length lead while Summer Mis was 14 clear of the rest of the field. Gracility had hung on for third.
Eusebio Razo Jr., on third-place Gracility, explained: "We were sitting in perfect position tracking the early speed. We tried to go at the same time as the winner but she just ran away from us. It was good that we saved third."
They covered the mile and a sixteenth distance in 1:49.75.
White O Morn paid $63.40, $12.80, and $6.80; Summer Mis $2.80, $3.60; and Gracility $3.40. The $2 3-4 Exacta paid $247.20 and the $2 3-4-1 Trifecta came back $719.60.
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