In just her fourth start, the 2-year-old half sister to 2017 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) winner Always Dreaming broke well from post 4 under jockey Manuel Franco before settling three wide just off the pace as second choice Filly Joel took the lead on the rail.
With Enliven to her direct inside on the backstretch, Positive Spirit was in second early, while Filly Joel led the field through fractions of :24.16, :49.19, and 1:15.51.
Entering the far turn, the three frontrunners drew even, then Positive Spirit overtook Filly Joel and dug in when asked, running unchallenged all the way to the wire to win by an impressive 10 1/2 lengths. Final time for the 1 1/8-mile test was 1:56.01.
“I was just the pilot,” Franco said. “She was dragging me around the entire way around. I just waited for the right moment to make a run, and she was there for me.
“I wasn’t concerned about being floated wide because on the backside we were running straight and didn’t lose ground. I just kept her there so she could stay clean, and she really did it easy. She took me to the front to make the lead, and when I asked her, she really opened up.”
Running a considerable distance off the rail throughout the majority of the race, Afleet Destiny moved up to take second, with Filly Joel another 2 1/4 lengths back in third. Molto Bella, Enliven, Jennifer’s Dream, and Girl of Tosconova completed the order of finish.
Bred in Kentucky by Mike Ryan and Gerry Dilger’s Santa Rosa Partners out of the In Excess mare Above Perfection, Positive Spirit is by Pioneerof the Nile . Following a brace of near misses Sept. 2 at Saratoga Race Course and Oct. 6 at Keeneland, she broke her maiden Nov. 8 in a one-mile maiden special weight at Churchill Downs.
“She really changed after the race in Keeneland,” said trainer Rodolphe Brisset. “The light bulb really went on after she got beat.
“I didn’t want to cut her back to a mile (at Churchill), but I didn’t have any choice. … She’s been training well, and we took a shot here. She gave us all the good signs for bringing her, and it paid off. It’s a good payoff. We usually don’t run them back in 21 days, but the filly had every sign she was going good, so we decided to come here.”
Positive Spirit’s victory in the Demoiselle earned the filly 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks. Brisset said she will head to Payson Park next week where she will be rested for the rest of the month while plans are formulated for her upcoming 3-year-old campaign.
“Who doesn’t want to go to the Kentucky Oaks?” Brisset said. “Physically, she’s a pretty big filly, but I’d love to see her develop even more in the transition between 2 and 3. Let’s take it month by month.”
Positive Spirit improved her record to 2-1-1 from four starts, with $206,700 in earnings.