Ring Leader is now a perfect three-for-three following her stakes-record performance in the $125,000 Dixie Belle S. Feb. 15 at Oaklawn Park.
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The 3-year-old filly is Paynter's second stakes winner this year and his fifth stakes horse overall in 2020. After finishing third on the 2019 Third-Crop sire list, Paynter leads all Fourth-Crop sires of 2020 in nearly every category, including stakes winners, winners and black type horses.
Ring Leader broke her maiden at first asking last June, then was away from the races until taking a Jan. 24 Oaklawn allowance by five lengths. In the six-furlong Dixie Belle, she stalked the pace from the outside before taking the lead in upper stretch, then dug in to hold of Specially to win by a half-length in 1:10.46 on the fast track.
“She’s improving,” trainer Mac Robertson said. “Obviously, she went from winning by a head at Canterbury to winning by five at Oaklawn. That’s a big move. Usually, when they make that big of a move, they make another one. I don’t think it’s foolish to be high on a horse like that.”
Robertson said the $300,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) March 7, also at Oaklawn would be the filly's next start.
The winner is owned by Novogratz Racing Stables and was bred in Kentucky by George Krikorian.