The 3-year-old chestnut, challenged briefly by even-money favorite Model turning into the stretch, drew away with ease en route to a 2 ¼-length victory in stakes record time of 1:40.38 for 1 1/16 miles. At odds of 13-1 as the fifth choice in the field of seven, she set the stage for a Pick Six carryover of $146,154 while winning her third consecutive start.
Briecat, owned by Holly and David Wilson, had won four of nine starts — including the Arizona Oaks and Chandler Stakes at Turf Paradise — but entered the Grade II event with a mere $136,800 in earnings.
The only 3-year-old in the field, she became the third consecutive and 12th sophomore to win the Bayakoa. She paid $28.80, $8.80 and $4.60. Model returned $3.20 and $2.20, while the show payoff on Wake Up Maggie was $2.80.
Briecat, trained by Vladimir Cerin, earned $90,000 with her fifth win, boosting her bankroll to $226,800
“She just keeps getting better and better,” Cerin said. “When they win a couple in a row their mind changes and they become confident. It sure looked like Model would blow by her at the quarter pole, but all of a sudden she didn’t.
“Last time she won at Turf Paradise on the grass coming just off the pace, so I think she can adjust (to Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride),” he added. “As good as she’s getting, they may have to adjust to her.”
Jockey Michael Baze and Model know that feeling.
"It was a picture perfect trip,” Baze said. “She made a tremendous move in the middle of the turn, but that other filly just re-broke."
JON COURT, BRIECAT, Winner: "She was going out nice and easy, relaxed. She was uncontested and you always want that as the lone speed because it helps at the end. She was out there setting her pace, not pressured too much...I never had them more than a length or two away from me. I tried occasionally to open up and make it a little more comfortable margin and just finish in front of them. I called on her in the lane and she gave me a little kick away from them and held 'em off."
MICHAEL BAZE, MODEL, Second : "She was nervous in the paddock but as soon as she hit the track she was great. She relaxed well, warmed up good. She was a lot better when they put the blinkers on. It was a picture perfect trip. He (Neil Drysdale) said on the first turn get to the outside. A couple of them went and she was sitting perfect on the outside. She made a tremendous move in the middle of the turn but that other filly just re-broke."