In just her second start on North American soil and her first at Churchill Downs, Amerman Racing’s Gift List left her competition in the dust April 30 with a perfectly timed late surge to the finish in the $300,000 Edgewood Stakes Presented by Newport Racing & Gaming (G2T).
At the break, favored—and previously undefeated—Aunt Pearl shot straight to the front of the pack under jockey Florent Geroux. The move was an unsurprising one for the Lope de Vega filly who prefers a front-running style and whose three prior victories, including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1T) last fall, were all gate-to-wire efforts.
Running along the rail and with close to a two-length advantage over her competitors in the opening stages of the 1 1/16-mile race, Aunt Pearl clicked off fractions of :24.32, :49.03, and 1:13 through six furlongs. Zaajeel and Luis Saez stalked the pace just off the leader in the two-path, followed closely by Gift List, who was guided along the inside by Javier Castellano.
Shifting out of the far turn and into the lane, Castellano maneuvered Gift List away from the hedge and into the four path where there was ample space to make a run for the lead. Aunt Pearl, who had been held in check by Geroux along the backside, also swung outward into the three-path and dug in for the drive home.
But at the three-sixteenths pole, Aunt Pearl began to fade and dropped back through the ranks, Barista —who had rated just off the pace in the midfield—seized the opportunity to move up but was no match for Gift List, who fired late and broke away from the field, widening her leading margin all the way to the wire. Four and a half lengths clear of the pack at the finish line, Gift List stopped the clock in a final time of 1:42.52.
“I didn’t have any special instructions today; just play the break and go from there,” said Castellano. “She broke fine, and I got a very good spot. Then when I asked her, she gave me some amazing acceleration. She was a special winner today.”
“She was traveling great, going to the back side; she was relaxing. I just had no horse down the lane,” said Geroux. “She’s a very small filly. In my opinion, she did not move forward as much as some of those other horses.”
Postnup took sixth, followed by Zaajeel to complete the order of finish.
Gift List made her first five starts—all of them sprints—in her native Great Britain for trainer Karl Richard Burke and owner J.C. Fretwell. Switched to the barn of Brian Lynch ahead of her sophomore season, the chestnut debuted in the Bluegrass State April 3 at Keeneland where she ran second in the Appalachian Stakes Presented by Japan Racing Association (G2T).
Gift List’s connections enjoy the trophy presentation for the Edgewood Stakes
“Off the last race, in her U.S. debut, she gave a great run that day (in the Appalachian at Keeneland), in a race that had no pace,” said Lynch. “She’s really trained so well from her last start to this, even though we had to work her on the dirt, which was a new thing to her. She was very comfortable getting over it and was getting plenty out of her works. I had a good feeling going into this race, that if Aunt Pearl were to stub her toe, we’d have a good shot.
“(Aunt Pearl) was a big obstacle, no doubt. Undefeated filly. Breeders’ Cup winner. But we all know—and I’ve run into it myself with (grade 1 winner) Oscar Performance—some of them take to this course, and some just don’t. It had a little bit of give in it today, and my filly had some good races on soft and heavy turf. Maybe that had something to do with it.”
Bred in Great Britain by James Ortega Bloodstock, Gift List is out of the Machiavellian mare Birthstone . The 3-year-old Bated Breath filly has hit the board in all of her seven lifetime starts, never finishing less than second. Her earnings to date come to $281,814.