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2023 First Lady Stakes Replay Analysis | Gina Romantica Nails In Italian For Brown, Brant Exacta
Gina Romantica (1) defeats In Italian (Candice Chavez/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM)

2023 First Lady Stakes Replay Analysis | Gina Romantica Nails In Italian For Brown, Brant Exacta

Gina Romantica won the 2023 First Lady Stakes (G1) at Keeneland, defeating defending champion In Italian to give trainer Chad Brown & owner Peter Brant the exacta.

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Watch the race replay here:

The press release:

It was a Peter Brant-Chad Brown exacta in the 26th running of the First Lady (G1) Presented by UK HealthCare as Gina Romantica collared defending champion and stablemate In Italian (GB) in deep stretch to win by a head. 

Ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, Gina Romantica completed the mile over a firm turf course in 1:33.70. 

This is the sixth consecutive year Brown has saddled the First Lady winner. He has won the race seven times overall. This is the third consecutive First Lady victory for Brant, who now has won eight graded stakes here to earn a Keeneland Tray as part of the track’s signature Milestone Trophy Program.


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In Italian, with Joel Rosario aboard, dictated the pace in the field of eight with unopposed fractions of :23.40, :46.80 and 1:10.12. In Italian brought a clear advantage into the stretch with Gina Romantica emerging as the only threat. Gina Romantica swept by passing the sixteenth pole to secure a second Grade 1 victory here to go with her win in last year’s Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Presented by Dixiana. 

A Keeneland sales graduate, Gina Romantica is a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Into Mischief out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Special Me. The victory was worth $447,563 and increased her earnings to $1,108,603 with a record of 10-5-2-0. 

Dismissed at 11-1 odds, Gina Romantica returned $25.02, $6.26 and $4.30. In Italian, the 2-5 favorite, paid $2.42 and $2.10 and finished 3½ lengths in front of Evvie Jets, who returned $5.58 to show under Jose Ortiz. 

It was another half-length back to Whitebeam (GB) in fourth with Gam’s Mission, Jumbly (GB), New Year’s Eve and Thisnameisokay following in order. 

Gina Romantica (1), ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, wins the First Lady Stakes (Grade 1) on Coolmore Turf Mile Day at Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, Kentucky on October 7, 2023. Tere Poplin/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM


Tyler Gaffalione (winning rider of Gina Romantica)

“First off, all the credit goes to (trainer) Chad (Brown) and his team. She fired big for us today. Thank you, (owner) Mr. (Peter) Brant for giving me this opportunity. She broke good. She traveled so great throughout. I didn’t have to take too much of a hold. She was very comfortable where she was. Coming into the stretch, once I found room toward the outside, she really exploded – finished her job really well.”

Joel Rosario (rider of runner-up In Italian-GB)

“She relaxed nice today. The other horse (Gina Romantica) really ran a big race. The fractions were good. She was really relaxed up front, beautiful.” 

Jose Ortiz (rider of third-place finisher Evvie Jets)

“Beautiful, broke good. We went forward into the first turn, saved as much ground as we could in the backside and dropped behind Johnny (Velazquez on Jumbly-GB). I was third best. Both fillies in front of me were much better than me today. We ran a great race.”