By Jonathan Horowitz June 15, 2014 Aurora, CO

Ms Dixie won the COBRA Distaff Sprint at Arapahoe Park on Sunday for the third straight year but had to work harder this year than in her victories in the race in 2012 and 2013.  The two-time Darley Award winner as champion 4-year-old filly in 2012 and champion older mare in 2013 was pushed to the finish line, prevailing by a neck over Lil Rich Girl and Sand On Fire in the 6 furlong, $20,000 Grade 3 stakes race for fillies and mares.

“This was no easy race,” said trainer Scott Powell, who also owns Ms Dixie with his wife, Lori Long, as part of the Quarter Moon Ranch.

Ms Dixie used different tactics than in her two previous COBRA Distaff Sprint victories—gate-to-wire scores by 6 1/4 lengths in 2012 and by seven lengths in 2013.  Jockey Mike Luark positioned the 6-year-old gray mare sired Burning Sand out of dam Dixie Darlene in the middle of the field of seven early in the race.  She made a move up the inside to the lead with one furlong to go.

“Great ride by Mike Luark,” Powell said.  “We’re rating her back now and bringing her off the pace.  That’s the best thing for her now.”

Although the margin of victory was smaller this year, Ms Dixie’s final time of 1:18.22 was faster than in her two previous COBRA Distaff Sprint wins.  Powell said Ms Dixie came out of the race in top condition and will be pointed next to the 6-furlong, $20,000 Grade 3 COBRA Sprint at Arapahoe Park in one week on June 22.  Then she is scheduled to travel to California to race in the Grade 2 Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup at Pleasanton that is part of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival.

“We have to keep her going all year long,” Powell said.  “You have to pick and choose and peak at the right times.  We knew this race was going to be tough.  Now we’re going to figure out how we take the boys out next week.”

The COBRA Distaff Sprint was the seventh career stakes success for Ms Dixie, a $15,000 claim in October 2011.  She has now won 11 of 31 career races for earnings to $153,944.

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Winner Ms Dixie at COBRA Distaff Sprint Photo by Coady Photography

Winner Ms Dixie at COBRA Distaff Sprint
Photo by Coady Photography