By Tom LaMarra
Girls Know Best has proven equally adept on turf or dirt, so it was no surprise when she was sent away as the favorite in the off-the-turf $100,000 The Very One Stakes and reported home a winner May 19 at Pimlico Race Course.
The Very One is the first of five MATCH Series races in the Filly and Mare Sprint—Turf Division, but consistent and at times heavy rain over several days forced the race to the main track. The points for finish position, however, still count toward the division, and the next race in the sequence is the $100,000 Penn Ladies Dash on the grass at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course June 2.
The Very One attracted 14 entries and, because of the surface switch, eight went to post. Girls Know Best, owned by Brian Chenvert and trainer Eddie Kenneally, took command under Javier Castellano from front-running Victorias Fire at the top of the stretch in the five-furlong stakes and pulled away to win by 1 ¾ lengths over Pretty Perfection. Anna’s Bandit, based at Laurel Park, broke last and rallied nicely for third.
Girls Know Best covered the distance on a sloppy track in :57.00 and paid $4 to win. The 4-year-old Caleb’s Posse filly is based in Kentucky with Kenneally, so it remains to be seen whether she will return for future MATCH Series events.
“We know about the series, and I will talk to Eddie about it,” said Bill Chenvert, father of the co-owner.
“I didn’t know what to think (about running on off track),” Kenneally told Maryland Jockey Club media officials by phone. “I contemplated scratching her, even though she has won six races on the dirt, but not at this level. I didn’t know if I should run her or not, but we decided to go ahead and it worked out.
She had won five races before we claimed her. She knew how to win. A 3-year-old having already won five races means a lot. She looked like she was a pretty sound filly so we went ahead and claimed her. She has matured and I think she’s just sort of got lucky, really. We’ll see what comes up for her. I think she will go back to the grass.”
Girls Know Best earned 10 points for her victory in The Very One. Pretty Perfection, who is based at Monmouth Park with trainer Kelly Breen, now has 7 points, followed by Anna’s Bandit (5), Chanteline (3), Smiling Causeway (2), Daylight Ahead (1), Keep Your Distance (1) and Victorias Fire (1).