THE $75,000 VIVACIOUS HANDICAP GIVES RIDER AND TRAINER FIRST CAREER STAKES VICTORY
A field of eleven Ohio Registered fillies and mares went to post in the $75,000 Vivacious Stakes contested at 1 1/16 miles on the turf August 4. Accredited-bred Leona’s Reward, an earner of $748,056, had won 5 of her last 6 starts (four of them in stakes), was sent away the favorite. The second favorite was Mayas Queen Neetee, an earner of $264,623 who captured the Vivacious last year.
As the runners broke from the gate riders were taking position as Birdacious made her way to the rail under rider Sonny Leon, where he only left this position once during the race. As the race progressed, the speedsters vied for the lead under opening fractions of 23.25, 47.29, 111.50, and turned for home in 136.51.
When Leon sensed the pace setters tiring, he kept position on the rail inside the 16th pole and gave a rail-skimming ride to the winner’s circle winning by a 1 ¼ lengths. The final time for this impressive daughter by Birdrun finished up in 142.59 paying $34.40, $13.60, and $8.60. Completing the superfecta were: Mayas Queen Neetee, Grizabella, and Cali Dream. The odds-on favorite Leona’s Reward finished 5th – 1 ½ lengths behind the winner.
According to trainer Michael Evans II; “She faced the boys last out and was off slow and encountered trouble at various points of the race. The next day she was kicking down the barn and we felt confident to take our shot in the Vivacious seven days later facing the boys in the Buckeye Native. – This was the first stake win for rider Sonny Leon and myself.”
The 4-year-old Accredited filly was bred by Robin Murphy who stands her sire Birdrun at Poplar Creek Horse Center in Bethel. Owned by Sheltowee Farms and Patricia Adams, Birdacious pushed her career earnings to $206,991 with the win in the grassy Vivacious.