JUDDMONTE SPINSTER | PURSE: $500,000 | 3-YEAR-OLDS & UP | FILLIES & MARES | GRADE 1 | 1 1 /8 MILES
Gary Barber and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners' In Lingerie proved best on Sunday when taking on nine rivals in the Grade 1, $500,000 Spinster at Keeneland. The Todd Pletcher pupil saved ground along the rail while biding her time just behind the front-running Juanita on the backstretch before putting in her winning move in the stretch to be two lengths clear of Mystical Star on the wire.
Juanita headed straight to the front when the gates opened, setting splits of :24 1/5, :47 4/5 and 1:12 2/5. Starformer and Karlovy Vary were keeping in close attendance just to her outside, while John Velazquez settled In Lingerie on the inside in a stalking position.
The top three were joined by Mystical Star entering the turn, with the latter filly strung four wide as they raced in tandem into the stretch. Meanwhile, In Lingerie was gearing up for her run and easily passed her rivals to finish 1 1/8 miles on the Polytrack in 1:49 2/5.
"She had a perfect trip. She broke really well, so we got into nice position," Velazquez remarked. "I was a little worried because the horses in front of me, I was expecting they were going to come back to me. Actually they lasted a little longer than I expected, which did help me a little bit. Once I got out at the sixteenth-pole and she was in the clear she responded right away.
"I'm very proud of her. She's betting better. She's more mature and relaxed."
In Lingerie was sent off the near 5-2 favorite and returned $6.80, $3.80 and 3.20 to her many backers. Mystical Star entered this one off an eighth-placing in the Grade 1 Beverly D. Stakes over Arlington Park's turf and ran back to her Grade 2 New York Stakes-winning form to be second. Multiple Grade 3-scoring veteran Upperline, fifth in the Beverly D. last out, filled out the show spot while Starformer completed the top four under the wire.
"She ran great!" enthused James Graham, who had piloting duties aboard Upperline.
Tiz Miz Sue, defending champion Aruna, Kitty in a Tizzy, Karlovy Vary, Juanita and Disposablepleasure completed the order of finish.
"I had a great trip, but unfortunately turning for home, when I finally got through and was able to get to the outside, she didn't have a big kick today," jockey Ramon Dominguez described his ride on Aruna.
"I'll talk to the owners but my gut feeling is that she probably needed to run better than that to go on to the Breeders' Cup," admitted Aruna's trainer, Graham Motion. "I don't really know [why she ran poorly]. She was quite bad in the gate. She acted up, which didn't help."
In Lingerie broke her maiden for trainer Stephen Lyster by 6 1/4 lengths at Turfway Park in mid-January and soon after was privately purchased by her current owners and sent south to Pletcher's Florida shedrow. The Empire Maker filly was runner-up in her debut for her new connections after becoming fractious in the gate of a one-mile optional claiming test at Gulfstream, but reverted to her prior form when returning to Turfway Park for a six-length romp in the Grade 3 Bourbonette Oaks.
While that earned In Lingerie a shot at the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, Pletcher opted to bypass that contest with his lightly raced charge and instead pointed her to the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico. The move paid off as the sophomore lass scored by 1 1/4 lengths in the Black-Eyed Susan, and she returned to be third in the Coaching Club American Oaks and Alabama, both Grade 1s, in her past two.
In Lingerie entered the Spinster off that latter event 50 days ago, and improved her career line to read 7-4-2-1. The winner's share from the Spinster boosted her bankroll to $712,265.
"We were hopeful [of a winning performance]," Pletcher said. "She ran very well at Saratoga against the best three-year-old fillies in the country and we knew she liked the Polytrack. We were just hoping that she'd transfer that form from Turfway early on. We knew she was training well, so we were optimistic.
"I'll talk to [co-owners] Aron [Wellman] and Gary [Barber] and we'll see how she comes out of it and talk about some options. I'd say she's the kind you could look at a couple of different races with," he added when asked about a possible bid in the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic on November 2 at Santa Anita.
Bred in Kentucky by Colts Neck Stables, In Lingerie RNAed at $22,000 as a Keeneland September yearling. The bay miss is out of the Grade 2-winning Storm Cat mare Cat Chat and counts as her second dam 1993 champion juvenile filly Phone Chatter.
Other descendants of Phone Chatter include Grade 1 winner Dixie Chatter and the Grade 3-placed stakes-scoring filly Rumor, who captured the L.A. Woman Stakes cross-country at Santa Anita just minutes following the Spinster.