EIGHT BELLES STAKES | PURSE: $175,000 | 3-YEAR-OLD FILLIES | GRADE 3 | 7 FURLONGS
With a heart the size of the state where she was bred, Fiftyshadesofgold nailed down her first graded stakes win when the Texas-bred held off a determined Milam to register a half-length victory in the $175,000 Eight Belles Stakes Friday, May 2 at Churchill Downs.
Racing for the estate of Clarence Scharbauer Jr., trainer Bret Calhoun had considered a start in the Longines Kentucky Oaks for the daughter of My Golden Song who finished a well-beaten second to Untapable in the Fair Grounds Oaks, but ultimately opted for the seven-furlong Eight Belles.
After shadowing the early leaders through the turn as Jojo Warrior led 23-1 longshot Cash Control through a quarter-mile in :22.31 seconds and a half-mile in :44.77 seconds, 2-1 favorite Fiftyshadesofgold and Mike Smith took the lead in early stretch while racing three wide and had enough to hold off a determined stretch run from Milam to her outside to secure the victory.
Joe Sutton's stakes winner Milam, by Street Sense, earned her first graded stakes-placing and Richard and Bertram Klein's Cash Control, by Pioneerof the Nile, held third to secure her first stakes-placing.
Fiftyshadesofgold returned $6.20 to win, $3.60 to place, and $2.80 to show while Milam returned $8.20 to place and $5.60 to show. Cash Control paid $6.20 to show.
Second-choice She's a Tiger, making her first start since being disqualified from first to second in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita Park, raced wide early and did not threaten the winner.