Crazy Beautiful wears down Played Hard to take Seneca

A Churchill Downs’ stakes recap by the track’s publicity department (Coady Photography photos):

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Friday, Oct. 1, 2021)Phoenix Thoroughbred III Ltd.’s three-time graded stakes winner Crazy Beautiful wore down Rigney Racing LLC’s front-running, even-money favorite Played Hard in deep stretch for a neck victory in Friday’s inaugural running of the $155,568 Seneca Overnight Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Churchill Downs.

Crazy Beautiful and Brian Hernandez Jr. won Friday’s Seneca Overnight Stakes over Played Hard. Coady Photography

Ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr. and trained by Kenny McPeek, Crazy Beautiful ran 1 1/16 miles over a fast track in 1:42.35 to collect her sixth win in 12 starts. The winner’s share of $92,060 increased Crazy Beautiful’s earnings to $801,925.

Earlier this year, Crazy Beautiful posted victories in the $200,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (GII), $200,000 Summertime Oaks (GII) at Santa Anita and $300,000 Delaware Oaks (GIII). She started her career last year with victories in an Ellis Park maiden race and the RUNHAPPY Ellis Park Debutante, followed by seconds in Churchill Downs’ Pocahontas (GIII) and Keeneland’s Grade I Darley Alcibiades. She also ran in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and this year’s Kentucky Oaks.

Crazy Beautiful paid $5.20, $2.60 and $2.20 as the 8-5 second betting choice. Played Hard, ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, returned $2.40 and $2.10. It was another 2 ¾ lengths back to Moon Swagin third under Florent Geroux, who paid $3.40 to show.

Illiogami, Oliviaofthedesert and Time for Glory completed the order of finish. Double Dawnwas scratched.

Breaking from post position No. 4 in the field of six fillies, Crazy Beautiful raced just off pacesetter Played Hard’s right hip as the leader set fractions of :23.31 and :46.47. Played Hard had a length advantage midway around the final turn as she clipped six furlongs in 1:10.45 but Crazy Beautiful re-engaged down the stretch and inched clear of the tiring pacesetter in the final 100 yards.

“I saw in some of her previous races that she was able to use a little bit of early speed to get into a better position and would still have some punch late,” Hernandez said. “Today it looked like Played Hard could have an easy lead but I had confidence in my filly that she’d be able to keep close to the pace early. She’s ran against some really nice fillies this year and I think she may have used that class to her advantage today.”

Coady Photography

“Brian got her into a great spot early,” said McPeek assistant Greg Geier. “There wasn’t a lot of speed in the race but she got a good trip and she’s a really nice filly.”

Trainer Phil Bauer was disappointed in the outcome but not Played Hard’s performance, saying, “She ran a great race on the front end. It was really tough to get beat like that but she ran a great effort.”

Crazy Beautiful was bred in Kentucky by Carolyn R. Vogel. She is a daughter of Liam’s Map out of the Indian Charlie mare Indian Burn.

The race honors Seneca Park, which was the last park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted’s firm in Louisville. The park resides in the Louisville neighborhood of Seneca Gardens. It is part of the Cherokee-Seneca neighborhood, which is bounded by I-64 and other hilly neighborhoods.


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Jennie Rees