In days of yore, if you didn’t want to talk to anybody you just took the phone off the hook. In today’s society, it is much more difficult to “ghost” yourself as many forms of communication make us accessible. If people have questions about you, it is important to answer otherwise folks will conjure up their own assumptions. On July 2, one fast-running female hit reply on her smartphone with authority.

Shedaresthedevil has always been a courageous Thoroughbred runner with a huge will to win. Coming into the 2022 Fleur de Lis at Churchill Downs some had wondered if the 2020 Kentucky Oaks champ had lost a step. Yes, she had won nine of nineteen starts and finished in the top three seventeen times. But a second and a third-place finish in her only two starts as a five-year-old had the naysayers dialing her up as not the same as before. Her last start, in fact, was a second in the grade 1 LaTroienne Stakes on May 6 at Churchill Downs where she had previously been unbeaten.

In preparing for this latest challenge, trainer Brad Cox had conditioned this daughter of Daredevil as normal and all the encouraging signs were there. An outside draw in a talented five-horse field was good and being on familiar dirt was even better. Understanding this was no easy task, Cox had his fleet-footed female ready.

“We know there have been some people out there that were saying she had lost a step”, says Cox. “Everything we had seen in her works gave us no indication of that.”

Of course, the questions regarding this race involved the aptly named Super Quick and Pauline’s Pearl, who had won the aforementioned La Troienne. A little over a minute and forty-nine seconds after the gates opened Shedaresthedevil told everyone what her conditioner already knew.

As expected, Super Quick bolted to the lead immediately. Understanding this daughter of Super Saver was a threat to take’em gate-to-wire, jockey Florent Geroux hustled Shedaresthedevil into a stalking position. Gliding up the backstretch through moderate fractions (23.70 opening quarter-mile, 47.83 half mile) for this mile and an eighth journey, Cox’s charge bided her time. As the runners hit the far turn, a stubborn Super Quick continued to lead with Shedaresthedevil constantly on the improve. Just inside the eighth pole, the Oaks champion surged to the lead and pulled ahead. Crossing under the wire a widening length and three-quarters in front, this classy female had responded to all inquiries about her well-being.

“We are really happy to get her back in the win column, says Cox. “She showed her class against a good group. I was a little nervous going up the backside when the frontrunner tried to get away from us. I think considering she won everything worked out great. We give lots of credit to Mandy Pope for bringing her back to run after really good years of racing at three and four.”

The Fleur de Lis marked her tenth career win from twenty starts with fourteen of those coming in graded stakes company. Boasting a bankroll of over $2.7 million in on-track earnings, this granddaughter of Congrats now looks towards the future.

“We may go to Saratoga or Del  Mar next”, says Cox. “Wherever it is it will be a grade 1. The Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland is our end goal for this year.”


Shedaresthedevil was back on familiar ground, the winner’s circle at Churchill Downs