Antoinette Oppenheimer’s Valiant Girl was a long shot in the Grade III $100,000 My Charmer Handicap, but came up with the victory. Trained by H. Graham Motion with jockey Matthew Rispoli aboard, this victory was her first United Stakes Graded Stakes win.
“We had been targeting this race,” said assistant trainer Dave Rock. “She shouldn’t have been that much of a long shot.”
Valiant Girl stalked the pace; while Herman Van Den Broeck’s Angelica Zapata chased the pace before rallying to reach even terms for command inside the 1/8 pole but was outrun as Valiant Girl rallied and slipped through to gain the lead nearing the 1/16 pole. She prevailed with the victory from there. The race favorite, Edward A. Cox, Jr.’s Naples Bay settled, only gaining some ground without making a threat.
“She’s the type of filly that will run off,” said jockey Matthew Rispoli. “I discussed it with Graham, and we decided that it would be best if we could cover up behind horses and it just worked out the best for us.”
Rispoli burst onto the Calder scene at the beginning of November. After a win in the My Charmer, he now has 10 victories out of 21 starts. During November, he had a 47 percent win percentage and hit the board 68 percent of the time.
Valiant Girl returned $87.60, $31.60, and $13.40 for the win. Angelica Zapata paid $4.80 and $3.40 for second, and Strathnaver returned $4.20 for third.
Completing the order of finish were Parranda, Rose to gold, Somali Lemonade, Naples Bay, Sure Route, Awesome Flower, Millennia, and Team.