My Mane Squeeze makes it 3 straight in Maddie May

Sunday, February 18th, 2024

My Mane Squeeze cruises to third straight stakes win in Sunday’s Maddie May at Aqueduct. NYRA Photo.

Buck Butler wryly admits he’d like to see My Mane Squeeze in some big spots, possibly against open company on one of racing’s biggest stages in a race like the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes.

He’s just not about to get ahead of his skis.

“I do have the dreams, but I have the right people who make the decisions,” Butler told NYRA’s Richard Migliore after his homebred Audible filly won her third straight stakes in Sunday’s $100,000 Maddie May for New York-bred 3-year-old fillies.

My Mane Squeeze made relatively easy work of her nine foes under Jose Lezcano, adding the Maddie May to victories last fall in the Maid of the Mist Stakes on Empire Showcase Day and in mid-January in the Franklin Square. Butler will leave the decision where My Mane Squeeze, a finalist for 2023 New York-bred champion 2-year-old filly honors, will go next.

Meanwhile, he and wife Loretta will continue to enjoy the ride.

“The people I’ve surrounded myself with make it easy for me,” Butler said. “My job, I sign the checks. I went to school in Loyola, but I’m a New Yorker born and bred. I don’t have a plan [for a next start for My Mane Squeeze]. Mike has a plan and I follow Mike’s plan. It’s gotten me here; why should I change?”

The 3-5 favorite off those two stakes wins from the outside post, My Mane Squeeze was content to track the early speed first from Cara’s Time and then Florida shipper and recent claim Blue Eyed Warrior. Running several paths off the rail, Blue Eyed Warrior clicked off the opening quarter-mile in :23.27, ahead of Kentucky shipper Landed down on the rail.

Landed, a half-sister to New York-bred champion Venti Valentine and multiple stakes winner and $516,625-earner Espresso Shot, slipped through the inside to take over approaching the half in :47.59. Lezcano and My Mane Squeeze took up the chase with more pressure from there and the top two separated from the field approaching the stretch.

After passing the 6-furlong split in 1:13.76, My Mane Squeeze took over in upper stretch and edged clear approaching the eighth pole. Lezcano hand rode the filly from there, winning by 4 3/4 lengths and finishing in 1:40.64 over the fast track.

“She broke pretty good, especially (at) a mile it gives you more time to find your stride,” Lezcano said. “I rode her like she’s the best horse in the race and kept her face clean. When I asked her, she kept going and won the race.

“I liked [Landed] and wanted to keep her close to me and see what happens. Stay close enough and when I asked, she kept going and won the race. … She’s pretty versatile.”

Landed, a daughter of Omaha Beach who cost Lael Stable $500,000 at the 2022 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale of selected yearlings, finished second in her stakes debut. She was 8 lengths clear of third-place Bernietakescharge, with Walk With Me fourth. Midnight Concerto, Munny Grab, Cara’s Time, Baroness Bourbon, Rumint and Blue Eyed Warrior completed the field.

My Mane Squeeze earned $55,000 for her Maddie May victory, to boost her bankroll to $293,960 from a record of 4-0-2 in six starts.

Foaled at Keane Stud in Amenia, My Mane Squeeze is the fourth foal out of Butler’s Speightstown mare In Spite of Mama.

In Spite of Mama is also the dam of multiple stakes winner and $582,955-earner Rotknee, stakes-placed winner and $170,220-earner Lookin for Trouble, four-time winner and $166,181-earner Mama’s Gold and an unnamed 2-year-old filly by War of Will. In Spite of Mama is also the dam of a New York-bred yearling colt by Runhappy and was bred by popular young New York sire Honest Mischief in 2023.

Carrying Butler’s colors, Rotknee won the Say Florida Sandy Stakes Jan. 28 at Aqueduct to improve to 9-for-17 in his career. A five-time stakes winner, Rotknee joined his younger half- sister as a finalist for champion New York-bred honors. The son of Runhappy is one of four finalists in the male sprinter category.

The New York-bred championships will be presented at the New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc.’s Awards Dinner sponsored by the New York Thoroughbred Breeding & Development Fund Monday, May 13 at Sacred Saratoga on the property of GMP Farm in Schuylerville.

Coincidentally that’s five days before the 100th renewal of the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico Race Course.

“There’s a joke to that—to the extent that the world wants to get into the Kentucky Oaks or the Kentucky Derby,” Butler said about his dream of winning the Black-Eyed Susan. “I started watching horse racing down at Pimlico in Section AA at Pimlico. I would hang out there on a regular basis. On Fridays, there would be nobody there for the Black-Eyed Susan and I would see these magnificent fillies run. It was a goal I set back then—this is over 50 years ago.

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