Burmilla remains undefeated in Honorable Miss
Darley Stable's undefeated Burmilla captured her first stakes victory in the Grade II Honorable Miss Handicap at Saratoga on Friday going six furlongs with jockey Rafael Bejarano taking the reins. The 4-year-old filly took the early advantage on the inside and dictated the pace throughout, setting soft fractions and relaxing on the lead. When the field of five turned for home, she tapped her higher gear and drew away without hesitation to win by three lengths.
"We didn't plan on getting the lead," said trainer Eoin Harty, "but she broke very sharply and Bejarano found himself on the lead. He was able to back them up and get the first quarter in 23 and she had plenty left in the stretch."
The Storm Cat daughter was a debut winner by 4 1/2 lengths at Gulfstream Park on January 22, 2006. She came back six months later to win an allowance race at Belmont Park by six lengths and then did not race again until June of this year, when she won her next allowance condition at Churchill Downs. Harty was concerned that she might be a little short for her stakes debut, as she was so lightly raced and missed a workout in July. But the chestnut filly's talent and her perfect trip were enough to defeat her well-seasoned, speedy opponents.
"You never think you are going to get that first quarter in 23, especially going three-quarters," said Harty. "I think everybody was anticipating a major speed duel."
Burmilla was bred in Kentucky by ClassicStar and was purchased for $850,000 at Keeneland's 2004 September Yearling Sale. She is out of the Valid Appeal mare Nannerl. Harty indicated that she would be pointed toward the Grade I Ballerina at Saratoga on August 26.