On a day when longshots prevailed in nearly all races on the opening day card at Oaklawn, it shouldn’t have been a surprise to see Marquee Miss win Friday’s $100,000 Dixie Belle Stakes at odds of 17-1.
With an estimated crowd of 17,500 watching, jockey Channing Hill guided the winning 3-year-old filly to the front soon after the start and proceeded to lead through early fractions of :21 4/5 and :46 1/5 for the first half mile. Durango, the 4-5 favorite, came from fourth to get within a head of the winner at the half-mile point, but proved no match in the end. Marquee Miss won the six furlong race in 1:11 3/5 over a fast track, while prevailing by 2 ½ lengths. Katalust finished third.
“I was surprised to see her so up close because she’s actually towing Channing (Hill) around there early,” said winning trainer Ingrid Mason. “That’s when I got real excited because I thought she’s going that comfortable early. He had a lot of horse left.”
Marquee Miss, a Cowboy Call filly, was winning for the first time since breaking her maiden in her career debut in the Arlington Washington Lassie Stakes last August. She has now earned $104,925 in her five-race career. Mason said the filly could start next in the $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes Feb. 6.
Marquee Miss returned $36.20, $9.40 and $4.60.