The connections of millionaire Daisy Devine have been targeting a return to Keeneland to defend their title in the 1 1/8-mile, $300,000, Grade 1 Jenny Wiley Stakes. The 25th edition of the race is Saturday, and the daughter of Grade 2 winner Kafwain appears poised to be a force in the turf contest. The 5-year-old mare owned by Aiken’s Jim and Debbie Miller, was broken and trained by Todd Turner at W.C. and Iris Freeman’s Chime Bell Farm, and was sent onto Legacy Stable’s Brad Stauffer and Ron Stevens at the Aiken Training Track.
The bay mare is renowned for her front running style, and for winning in gate-to-wire fashion, and the eight time stakes winner will have regular jockey James Graham in the irons.
Daisy Devine is the co-third choice at 4/1 on the morning line, and drew post position no. 8 in the in the 9 horse field. Daisy Devine’s three race win streak was snapped in her last start, the 1 1/16-mile Bayou Handicap at the Fair Grounds on Feb. 23, a race that was originally carded for the turf but moved to the main track. The mare battled gamely to miss by a head, spotting the eventual winner Snuggs and Kisses 11 pounds. The Grade 1 winner will carry 120 pounds in her defense of the Jenny Wiley.
“I would have liked to have been a little further in,” said Jim Miller, in a phone interview Thursday afternoon, in reference to Daisy Devine’s post position. “It’s going to be a horse race.”
A winner of the Grade 3 Pin Oak Valley View Stakes at Keeneland during her sophomore campaign, Daisy Devine is no stranger to the Keeneland turf course, and the Andrew McKeever charge had two recent works over the surface with jockey James Graham up, breezing 5-furlongs in a 1:00 1/5 seconds on March 28, and 5-furlongs in 1:02 3/5 on April 4 in preparation for the Jenny Wiley Stakes.
“James certainly knows the horse and her running style,” said Miller.
Godolphin Racing’s Better Lucky won’t be sneaking up on anyone this time, thanks to the fact the daughter of the 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapper won the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes last fall at odds of 35-1. The 4-year-old bay mare was broken and trained in Aiken by Tim Jones. Better Lucky is conditoned by Tom Albertrani, and scored a victory earlier in her sophomore campaign in the Grade 2 Sands Point Stakes at Belmont Park. The filly is out of the Grade 2 stakes winning broodmare Sahara Gold, and is a half-sister to stakes winner Sahara Heat. Better Lucky is the the fifth choice on the morning line at 5/1, and jockey Eddie Castro gets the return call on the filly who is coming off of a 4-month layoff. Better Lucky has bankrolled $438,950.