Bluegrass Flag stamps herself as a filly with future in NYSS Park Avenue

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017
NYRA/Chelsea Durand

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

Bluegrass Flag (Bluegrass Cat) notched her second career stakes tally even more impressively than her first, when she when she buried two rivals in a six-length romp in the open Cicada Stakes at Aqueduct on March 25.

In Saturday’s 24th running of the $100,000 Park Avenue division of New York Stallion Series (NYSS) for eligible sophomore fillies, Bluegrass Flag won again by six lengths, but at the same bested a highly-touted opponent and stopped the clock in “real racehorse time.”

Stretching out to 6 1/2 furlongs with regular rider Kendrick Carmouche in the irons, and going off as the 3-1 second choice, Bluegrass Flag faced six rivals, headed by Noble Freud. A half sister to Eclipse champion La Verdad and graded stakes winner Hot City Girl, Noble Freud was bet down to .30 cents on the dollar on the strength of an eye-catching debut on February 16 at Oaklawn Park. The promising filly was then purchased privately by a potent partnership group that includes Sol Kumin’s Head of Plains Partners and Michael Kisber (both involved with Mind Your Biscuits) and moved to Chad Brown’s barn in New York.

At the bell, front-running Bluegrass Flag did what she does best, gunned to the lead and challenged all comers to “Catch me if you can.”

The filly clocked stiff early splits of 22.71 and 45.48, pursued 1 1/2 lengths back by Noble Freud. The rest of the field gave chase.

Bluegrass Flag widened her lead to more than two lengths by the head of the stretch, and to more than five lengths with a furlong to go before sailing across the finish line six lengths to good without a serious challenge.

After six panels in 1:10.08, she completed the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.67 over the fast main track. Noble Freud checked in second, a neck in front of closing longshot Frosty Gal in third. Toni Tools, Dublin Girl, Unbridledadventure and Karen Kan completed the order of finish. [VIDEO REPLAY]

“My filly ran a gorgeous race today,” enthused winning rider Carmouche. “What a good job by [trainer] Thomas Morley and his team.  All I had to do was sit on her and get her around and make her look good. We know we can run.”

Carmouche continued, “We wanted to make Chad Brown’s horse [Noble Freud] run. Today, that’s what happened. My filly finished up really good. I was really pleased with her.”

Morley, in Ocala scouting fresh talent, regretted not seeing the race in person, but said, “This was probably the best performance of her career to date. Before the race, it was interesting to see Chad’s filly so strongly fancied, but we were confident in Bluegrass Flag’s ability to perform today.”

Morley added, “I thought Kendrick gave her a terrific ride. We do think the further she goes the more she’ll enjoy the added distance and I told the owners one day perhaps I envision she could possibly be another Ballerina horse, but we’re going to take it nice and steady and let her tell us where she wants to take us.”

In the meantime, the conditioner will point Bluegrass Flag, whose record stands to 3-1-0 in five career starts with career earnings of $173,220, to the seven-furlong Bouwerie at Belmont on the May 29 Big Apple Showcase card.

Bred by Susanne Hooper, James Hooper and Thomas Albrecht, and foaled at Haven Oaks Farm in Fort Edward, Bluegrass Flag is one of four winners from four foals to start, and first black type offspring out of No More Flags, a multiple winner bred in New York by the Hoopers. The mare has a juvenile colt by Posse and a yearling colt by Dublin. In 2016 She was bred to Stephanoatsee.

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