It’s one of the seminal moments in Breeders’ Cup  history.  You know it as: Dayjur jumped the shadow.[boxify cols_use =”2″ cols =”4″ position =”right” order =”none” box_spacing =”5″ padding =”5″ border_width =”2″ border_color =”blue” border_style =”dashed” height =”115″ ]Safely Kept Stakes selections

  1. Mr. Hall’s Opus (12-1)
  2. Crazy About Me (2-1)
  3. Fully Living (3-1)
  4. Lady Sabelia (8-1)

In the 1990 Breeders’ Cup Sprint, upstart filly Safely Kept sprinted to the lead in the opening jumps and kept on going.  English-based (though Kentucky-bred) invader Dayjur quickly sealed himself to her flank, and those two raced in lockstep rounding the turn.

Into the lane, the two kept at it, putting daylight between themselves and their other rivals, but none at all between each other.  Finally, gradually, Dayjur began to inch ahead.  And then — “10 feet from the wire,” as announcer Tom Durkin described it — Dayjur jumped a shadow and finished second.

That’s one side of the story.  The other?

Safely Kept didn’t jump the shadow.  She kept fighting to the wire, and when opportunity knocked, she seized it.

“We always say, ‘Hey, the same shadow was in front of Safely Kept that was in front of Dayjur,'” recalls David Hayden, who, with his wife JoAnn, bred Safely Kept.  “She just happened to be a lot more tenacious in that particular race.”

Saturday’s seventh race at Laurel Park is the Safely Kept Stakes, and she is surely a horse deserving of such a race.  The Maryland-bred won the Eclipse Award for champion sprinter in 1989, entered the National Racing Hall of Fame in 2011, and became a member of the inaugural class for the Maryland Thoroughbred Hall of Fame earlier in 2013.  Oddly enough, her Eclipse Award came after she finished second — to late-running Dancing Spree — in the Breeders’ Cup.  In 1990, voters gave the nod to Housebuster despite Safely Kept’s Breeders’ Cup win.

Overall, Safely Kept won 22 stakes and nearly $2.2 million.  She won stakes at 10 different racetracks, among them Saratoga, Belmont, Arlington, Monmouth, and of course, Laurel and Pimlico.  The Haydens, who claimed Safely Home, Safely Kept’s dam, for $12,500 at Bowie, owned the filly for the first part of her career before selling her to a partnership including Barry Weisbord.

The Haydens described the Breeders’ Cup win as “phenomenal.”  Added David, “We kind of levitated down from the second floor of Belmont” following the race.

As for Saturday’s race, it’s drawn an intriguing group of 13 (!) sophomore fillies to try their hands at seven furlongs.  The speedy Crazy About Me (2-1) is the favorite, and if she wins, it’ll mark her sixth straight victory; the prior five have all been by at least 4 lengths.

But she doesn’t figure to have it all her own way on the lead.  Lady Sabelia (8-1) wired a maiden field in her last try, and in the start — her first with blinkers — she zipped the opening quarter in 21 4/5 seconds.  And Sunlit City (20-1) is another who’s habitually on the engine.

If a speed duel develops — and that wouldn’t be a surprise — look for horses like Mr. Hall’s Opus (12-1), Fully Living (3-1), or Asiya (7-2) to benefit.

(Featured image, of Safely Kept, by Double J Photography.)