Thankfully, there were still three furlongs remaining to run.
Approaching the quarter pole, Willet began to find her stride and after being tipped four wide by jockey Rajiv Maragh turning for home, Willet stormed home to win the Iroquois by 9 1/4 lengths.
Miss Valentine won a three-way battle for second by a nose over Lady On the Run, who got third by a nose over Beautiful But Blue. Risky Rachel, Great Gracie Dane, Agave Princess, the 8-5 favorite, and Guyana Princess, completed the order of finish.
The win was the fourth from seven starts and first in a stakes for Willet, a 4-year-old daughter of Jump Start owned by Jimmy Iselin, Charlotte Assoulin and Eli Gindi and trained by Iselin.
Iselin, who purchased Willet from the estate of her breeder, Michael T. Martin - who Iselin said was one of his best friends - always was high on Willet, but the filly was at times difficult mentally.
During the summer, she flipped in the paddock at Saratoga and had to be scratched out of an allowance race. Prior to her last start, Willet acted up in the paddock again and she finished third in a swiftly run allowance at Belmont.
A week previous, he vanned Willet over to Belmont from Aqueduct and had ridden around in the paddock.
Saturday, Willet was better behaved but she appeared to be struggling with the track and was six lengths off the pace after a half-mile run by Agave Kiss in 45.59 seconds.
“I wanted to be a little more forwardly- placed but she wasn’t keeping up early so I kind of had to go to plan B,” Maragh said. “At the quarter pole, she jumped in like a different horse and sprinted home.”
Willet covered the seven furlongs over a muddy, sealed racetrack in 1:23.28 and returned $19.20.
Iselin, who said Willet physically reminds him of the brilliant champion Zenyatta, said Willet could run next in the Grade 2, $200,000 Go for Wand at Aqueduct on Nov. 23.
Courtesy of DRF.com