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Amie's Dini hands Now I Know first loss in Martha Washington
Amie's Dini was the second choice in Saturday's $75,000 Martha Washington Stakes at Oaklawn Park, but ran like a favorite when holding previously unbeaten 1-2 choice Now I Know by 1 3/4 lengths on the wire.
Trained by Ron Moquett for Mike Walker and Lou Sutterfield, Amie's Dini broke on top in the one-mile contest when Now I Know stumbled slightly out of the gate. However, she quickly settled in second heading into the first turn as Now I Know took the lead through splits of :23 2/5, :47 3/5 and 1:12 3/5. Jockey Jon Court kept the pressure on while settling Amie's Dini in a nice spot just to the outside and behind through the backstretch.
The two leaders began pulling away from the rest of the field nearing the final turn, and Amie's Dini swung three wide around Now I Know entering the lane. The gray miss tried to rally back into command, but Amie's Dini maintained her momentum to finish up in 1:38 3/5 over the fast dirt.
"I told Jon, you're such a good tactician and I'm leaving a lot of this to you, but just make sure, when you do challenge her, you blow by her," Moquett stated. "Don't go head-in-head. Don't test her and find out how much guts she has. Blow by her.
"I remember training Asher and she was that type of filly. If a horse got alongside her, she would dig back in and give you more. I didn't want to find that out about Now I Know today."
Amie's Dini was the 3-1 second favorite and returned $8.40, $3.20 and $2.40 for capturing her first stakes win. Lulu Wong closed well but could not reach Now I Know, who took second in the first loss of her seven-race career. Colonial Empress, Devious Intent and Soonerette finished the order under the wire after Red Bean Ice Cream was withdrawn.
"She ran well," said Now I Know's trainer, Donnie Von Hemel. "Ron's horse ran a great race. I was worried a little bit when she stumbled leaving the gate, but she settled herself and got into position, so I can't say that it was any kind of factor in why she got beat today. The distance might be a shade farther than she wants, but she did dig in when Ron's horse went by her. That's the first time that's ever happened to her so maybe she was a little bit surprised."
Amie's Dini gained a measure of revenge against Now I Know in this spot after running second to that rival in the Dixie Belle Stakes in her black-type, and sophomore, bow on January 14. She broke her maiden at Remington Park last October before shipping to Churchill Downs and closing out her juvenile season with a third-placing and a 6 3/4-length victory against optional claiming company.
"That horse she beat is one really nice horse, and I have the utmost respect for the man who trains her," Moquett said of Now I Know and Hemel. "When you have that kind of combination, you don't want to say it, but really you shouldn't be that excited to run against her. You're supposed to look around for easier spots. But I did know with her pedigree we might have a little edge going to the route this time, and we knew the way she was training, we might as well try her again."
Amie's Dini now boasts a 5-3-1-1, $98,896, resume following her Martha Washington score. The Kentucky-bred daughter of Bandini is out of the unraced Cherokee Run mare Run Kate Run, who is also responsible for producing Grade 2-placed multiple stakes victress Kid Kate.
Amie's Dini and Now I Know could continue their rivalry in the Grade 3, $125,000 Honeybee Stakes on March 10, the next race in the Oaklawn series for three-year-old fillies heading to the Grade 2, $300,000 Fantasy Stakes on April 11.