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Fierce Boots stomps Busanda rivals
Fierce Boots took the lead coming out of the gate and was never challenged as she rolled to a two-length upset of 9-5 favorite Flipcup in Saturday's $100,000 Busanda for three-year-old fillies at Aqueduct.
Ridden by Jose Ortiz, Fierce Boots towed the field of eight through moderate fractions of :24 2/5 for the opening quarter-mile, :48 4/5 for the half and 1:14 4/5 for three-quarters. She straightened for home ahead by two and went on to complete the mile-and-70-yard test in 1:46 3/5 over the fast inner dirt.
"She broke well, so I put her on the lead," Ortiz said. "She went very relaxed and just kept trying."
It was the first stakes victory for Fierce Boots, who is owned by celebrity chef Bobby Flay and trained by Todd Pletcher. The bay daughter of Tiznow, who fetched $200,000 as a Keeneland September yearling, came from off the pace to break her maiden in August at Parx Racing in her second start and most recently finished fourth in a first-level optional claimer on December 5 at Aqueduct.
The Busanda was her second stakes try following a well-beaten 11th in the Chelsea Flower at Belmont Park in late October.
"She hadn't gone to the front in the past, but she'd been more rank lately and we thought it would be a good idea to let her settle in where she wants to be," assistant trainer Byron Hughes explained. "Todd thought two turns would suit her."
Sent off the 8-1 fifth pick in the eight-filly field, Fierce Boots returned $19 and earned $60,000 to nearly triple her bankroll to $94,036. Overall, she is 2-0-0 from five starts. With the victory, she received 10 points toward a possible berth in the May 2 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs, a race won last year by 2013 Busanda victress Princess of Sylmar.
Runner-up Flipcup, who took the East View Stakes for New York-breds last time out, was another two lengths ahead of Fleet of Gold. Following in fourth was Ketel Twist, with Alpaca Fina and Camille Claudel completing the order of finish. Spanish Gold and Derek's Girl were both eased.