STICKNEY, IL -- Illinois-registered two-year-old fillies took the spotlight in the Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante Friday afternoon at Hawthorne. Cowgirl Kimmie led every step of the way, propelling both her trainer Fernando Bahena and her jockey Carlos Ulloa to the first stakes victories of their career.
Despite being lightly bumped by Summer Day, who broke inward, Cowgirl Kimmie soon cleared to the lead, with Summer Day and the two-wide Columbia Clipper tracking in closest range. Somewhat keen early, Cowgirl Kimmie clicked off fractions of 24.29 for the opening quarter and 47.46 for the half. Still well clear of Summer Day through the far turn, Cowgirl Kimmie got a more relaxed third quarter of 25.07, marking six furlongs in 1:12.53.
Into the lane, Summer Day took closer order, dropped to the inside, and took aim on Cowgirl Kimmie. Put to a drive, Cowgirl Kimmie kept going despite drifting out in upper stretch, and repulsed the bid from Summer Day. She drew off in the final furlong under Ulloa, who made no secret of his elation in the final strides of his first career stakes victory.
Cowgirl Kimmie stopped the clock in 1:47.71 for a mile and a sixteenth over fast dirt. Summer Day held clear for second, four and a half lengths behind the winner, but still another three lengths clear of War Colors, who settled toward the rear, but was able to make up some position through the far turn and the lane. Shelbi Renee, West Glacier, and Columbia Clipper completed the order of finish.
Cowgirl Kimmie is a two-year-old by Cowboy Cal out of the Madraar mare Fuzzy Kim. Foaled in Illinois, she was bred by Bob and Lynda Esposito, who also own her. This is the second time in the last three years that the Espositos have won the Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante with a homebred: Cowgirl Callie won the 2017 edition for them. The similar names are no accident; Cowgirl Callie and Cowgirl Kimmie are full sisters.
Her victory in the Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante was Cowgirl Kimmie's second win in five career starts; both of her wins have come over the main track at Hawthorne. The $33,930 winner's share of the purse brought her career earnings to $48,847.
The race was the first stakes win for both trainer Fernando Bahena and jockey Carlos Ulloa.
Trainer Fernando Bahena's first start came at Hawthorne on March 31, 2018. His first two training victories came on the same day, May 22, 2018, at Fairmount, with Controversy and Dorothe Marie. Both of those first winners came for Cowgirl Kimmie's owners, Bob and Lynda Esposito, and Dorothe Marie is Cowgirl Kimmie's half-sister. Bahena now has 23 wins in 161 training starts.
Ulloa attended jockey school in Puerto Rico, and galloped horses in New York before moving tack to Chicago to begin a career riding races. Many of his career milestones have come over the course. He rode his first race at Hawthorne on October 19, 2016, and won his first race at Hawthorne on November 16, 2016. His victory with Cowgirl Kimmie was his first in stakes company, and the 125th victory of his career.
Cowgirl Kimmie paid $12.40 to win. The $1.00 exacta over Summer Day (1-2) returned $10.60. A trifecta with War Colors third (1-2-5) came back with $9.90 for each $0.50 base bet. The $0.20 superfecta with Shelbi Renee in the lowest rung (1-2-5-6) paid $7.24.
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