OZONE PARK, N.Y.—The $250,000 Busher Invitational kicked off the stakes action on Gotham Day at the Big A in thrilling fashion as the two favorites, Search Results and Miss Brazil, sparred for the duration of the one-mile race for 3-year-old fillies, with the Klaravich Stables-owned Search Results proving best by a half-length at the finish.
Sent off as the narrow second choice in the wagering at 2-1, Search Results was making just her second career start on the heels of an emphatic, four-length debut win on January 3 at Gulfstream Park for trainer Chad Brown.
Despite a far less imposing resume than Miss Brazil, who won the local prep for the Busher, the Ruthless, by 6 ¼ lengths as an encore to a dominant maiden score at Aqueduct, the betting public had the race pegged with near-laser precision as Miss Brazil was sent off the slightest of favorites at 9-5 — a margin that was almost transposed onto the racetrack given the way the race unfolded.
The field of six all broke well and formed a very tight pack down the backstretch as Miss Brazil went out to show the way through splits of 24.53 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 49.64 for the half with Search Results in close attendance on her outside. The two continued to amble along on the front around the far turn, logging three-quarters in 1:15.14, and began to gain separation from the others as the field turned for home.
As jockey Eric Cancel finally let her loose, Miss Brazil tried to inch away from her rival down the lane, but Search Results proved an intractable foe and refused to concede any ground to the favorite. With a sixteenth to go it was still anyone’s race, and it was only in the waning strides that Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano and Search Results were able to finally pass Miss Brazil, stopping the clock in 1:39.75 for the distance.
“She broke so well out of the gate. She put me in a good position to rate and I didn’t want to take that away from her and take her back,” said winning rider Castellano. “I just let her do what she wanted to do. She was happy and she settled fine. They were just galloping along in the lead with the one horse [Miss Brazil], who was my target on paper.
“When I asked her, she didn’t switch leads, but everything I asked for, she gave it to me. She responded,” he added. “I like the way she galloped out and I think she’s going to be a good filly in the future. Two turns will be even better.”
The win made it two in a row for Search Results, a dark bay daughter of Flatter that was purchased for $310,000 as a yearling at the 2019 Keeneland September Sale, and in the process netted her 50 qualifying points toward a berth in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks on April 30 at Churchill Downs. Search Results returned $6.30 on a $2 win wager and received the winner’s share of the purse of $137,500, bumping her bankroll to $161,500.
A game Miss Brazil finished second, 5 ¾ lengths in front of Search Results’ stablemate The Grass Is Blue, who got caught up in a bit of traffic around the turn and was still able to muster a rally in the stretch behind the tepid early splits, while it was another half-length back to Laobanonaprayer in fourth. These three earned 20, 10, and 5 Oaks qualifying points, respectively, for their finishes. Make Mischief and Mo Desserts completed the order of finish.
“The plan going into this race was to go to the lead and make her comfortable, and I followed through with it,” said Cancel of runner-up Miss Brazil. “I just got caught the last sixteenth. The [final furlong] made a little bit of a difference with it being her first time going a mile. She fought hard almost to the wire. The last sixteenth she struggled just a bit, but they ran hard. I can’t take anything away from her. She’s a really decent filly.”
Busher Invitational Replay
Live racing resumes Sunday at Aqueduct with an eight-race card highlighted by the $100,000 Biogio’s Rose, a one-turn mile for state-bred fillies and mares 4-years-old and up in Race 7. First post is 1:20 p.m. Eastern.
Aqueduct Press Release
Photo: Search Results (NYRA/Coglianese)