Jim and Debbie Miller’s Grade 1 winner Daisy Devine returns Saturday in the 18th running of the 1 1/16-mile $75.000 Marie G. Krantz Memorial Handicap at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans, La. The turf race that was originally scheduled for last Saturday was delayed a week because of heavy rainfall at the Crescent City racetrack. Daisy Devine was broken and trained in Aiken by Todd Turner at Chime Bell Farm, and was later sent to Legacy Stable’s Brad Stauffer and Ron Stevens at the Aiken Training Track.
“She’s doing perfect,” said Jim Miller, in a phone interview Thursday evening. “She worked Monday, going a half-mile in 50 1/5 seconds, and galloped out. She’s won at the Fair Grounds on the dirt, so we really didn’t care if the race had come off the turf and had been switched to the main track.”
The 5-year-old daughter of Grade 2 winner Kafwain has seven stakes victories, with four of those coming at the Fair Grounds.
The Andrew McKeever charge scored consecutive gate to wire stakes victories to close out her 2012 campaign, with wins in the Grade 3 Cardinal Handicap at Churchill Downs on Nov. 10, and she followed that score by winning the Blushing K.D. Handicap by 6-lengths on Dec. 22 at the Fair Grounds.
“Each and every race is exciting for us,” said Miller. “We never expected such a horse.”
Regular jockey James Graham will be in the irons Saturday. Brian Hernandez, Jr., who rode Daisy Devine to victory in the Blushing K.D., will be riding the other half of the McKeever entry, Totheendoftheearth. Daisy Devine drew the rail in the six horse field, and is the race’s highweight as the 5-year-old filly will be carrying 125 pounds, spotting horses in the field as much as 12 pounds.
Daisy Devine became a Grade 1 winner during her 4-year-old campaign, when she won the Jenny Wiley Stakes on the turf on April 14 at Keeneland, a race that Miller hope’s the mare will contest in 2013.
The half-sister to stakes winners Patent Pending and Bargainwiththedevil has endeared herself to trainer Andrew McKeever, said Miller.
“He loves the horse,” said Miller. “He hand grazes her personally a couple of hours every day.”
Daisy Devine, a $5,500 sales purchase, has 9 wins, 2 seconds and 1 third from 16 lifetime starts, and has won $946,281.