Shidabhuti blasts by her rivals to capture the Busher and 50 Kentucky Oaks points (Chelsea Durand)
By Ryan Martin – NYRA Press Office
OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Peter Brant’s Shidabhuti stalked a moderate tempo and launched a devastating late kick in deep stretch to conquer her stakes debut in Saturday’s $200,000 Busher for sophomore fillies going a one-turn mile at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Shidabhuti, by Practical Joke, earned 50 qualifying points towards the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks on May 5 at Churchill Downs in capturing the Busher – the penultimate local qualifier for the prestigious event. She entered off two victories in as many starts, the most recent of which was a two-length win in a local allowance optional claimer on January 22 going the Busher distance. She broke her maiden in September going six furlongs at Monmouth Park.
Piloted by Dylan Davis from post 5, Shidabhuti maintained her outside position while fellow Chad Brown trainee Asset Purchase, the 4-5 post time favorite, did battle with Ziaerati on the front end through an opening quarter-mile in 23.54 seconds and a half-mile in 47.75 over the muddy and sealed main track.
Around the far turn, Asset Purchase established a clear advantage with Trevor McCarthy going all out aboard Ziaerati. Asset Purchase lengthened to a two-length lead at the stretch call under Manny Franco, but Shidabhuti loomed large on the far outside and collared her stablemate in the final strides to win by two lengths to stop the clock in 1:39.03.
Asset Purchase finished 1 1/4 lengths to the better of Capella, who launched an inside rally to finish third. Ziaerati, La Vita Sofia and Check Engine Light rounded out the order of finish.
“My thought was to be forwardly placed. I thought there was going to be more speed. I’m happy with where I was at, but we got some early pressure around the half-mile pole and she didn’t really like it too much,” said Davis. “I just let her get a feel for it and she got some rhythm at the three-eighths pole and she really started extending at the eighth-pole. I was keeping her to task. Just like her last race, it took her a while to get running and to build that momentum up to where she was able to finish it off. Again today, I had to ride her a little early, but once we straightened up again around the eighth pole, she found her stride again. I thought she handled this track pretty well.”
Davis, who also piloted Shidabhuti to her last out score, said the filly improved out of her last race.
“She felt a lot stronger today. She finished a lot stronger,” Davis commented. “She was a little green last time and a little spotty, but today she was a little more focused.”
Shidabhuti, who returned $12.60 for a $2 win wager, provided Brown with his second Busher victory after he sent out Search Results to a win in 2021.
Brown said he was pleased with the performance of both of his fillies.
“Dylan used good judgement on Shidabhuti to stay close and they weren’t going really fast. He put her in the clear in the stretch and he timed it just right,” Brown said. “With Asset Purchase, I thought she ran well but in hindsight maybe Manny should have allowed her to run a little more early and open up a little. He kept her restrained and kept the rest of the field in the race. But she still gave a good effort.
“[Shidabhuti] is just a horse who is improving and I know her numbers didn’t look that fast going into the race, but now she’s won all three of her starts, so it’s hard to fault her,” Brown added. “She has continued to improve and she should continue to improve with distance.”
Brown said Shidabhuti would “probably” target the Grade 3, $250,000 Gazelle – the final local Kentucky Oaks qualifier which awards the top-five finishers points based off a 100-40-30-20-10 scale.
Asset Purchase, who earned 20 qualifying Oaks points when finishing second, entered off an eight-length debut triumph sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs over the local going. Franco said he had a comfortable trip.
“I stayed just off [Ziaerati] that I thought was the horse to beat, but my filly got a little tired at the end going a mile for the first time today,” Franco said.
Banking $110,000 in victory, Shidabhuti brought her lifetime earnings to $189,600 while bragging an unbeaten record in three starts.
Bred in Kentucky by Gabriel Duignan and Gerry Dilger, Shidabhuti is out of the Candy Ride mare A.P. Candy and was a $310,000 purchase at the 2021 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Her third dam is multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Dream Supreme, who produced Grade 1-winner and producer Majestic Warrior.
Live action returns Sunday at the Big A with a nine-race card. First post is 1:20 p.m. Eastern.