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LEXINGTON, KY – Perry Harrison’s Change of Control was first out of the gate and first to the finish line in posting a 1 1/2-length victory over 62/1 longshot Ambassador Luna in the 25th running of the $150,000 Buffalo Trace Franklin County (G3) for fillies and mares on a rainy Friday afternoon.
Trained by Michelle Lovell and ridden by Colby Hernandez, Change of Control covered the 5 1/2 furlongs on a turf course labeled yielding in 1:05.89.
“I knew we weren’t going to be able to see much (in the driving rain), and we were laughing about what the horses thought about being out in this kind of rain – whether it was fun or not, because it wasn’t for us,” Lovell said. “But that was a lot of fun. I couldn’t see anything. It’s a good thing you had the numbers up on the board.”
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With the victory, Change of Control became the fourth horse to win the Giant’s Causeway during Keeneland’s Spring Meet and come back in the Fall Meet to win the Buffalo Trace Franklin County. The others were Dyna Da Wyna (2004), Confessional (2001), and Ayrial Delight (1999).
It is the second Keeneland stakes victory for Lovell and Hernandez, both coming with Change of Control.
Ambassador Luna quickly overtook Change of Control after the start and led the field of 10 through a first 1/4 mile in :22.66 as Change of Control raced fourth while in the clear.
In the stretch, Ambassador Luna shook off bids from In Good Spirits and Yes It’s Ginger but could not hold off the charge of Change of Control, who assumed control just before the 1/16 pole.
“When we broke out of the gate, I looked over and she was a little in front, but you couldn’t see that good out there,” Hernandez said. “But she broke very sharp, I was able to get in a good position and then sit and wait, and when I called on her, she finished up strong.”
A Keeneland sales graduate, Change of Control is a 5-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Fed Biz out of the Quiet American mare America’s Blossom.
With Friday’s $90,000 winner’s share, Change of Control increased her earnings to $656,775 with a record of 30-8-6-6. It was her second graded stakes victory and fourth stakes triumph overall.
“She’s been so classy and so talented, and she just gives so much every single time we put her in the gate, so I love her very much,” Lovell said. “She’s been awesome.”
Change of Control returned $14.60, $7.60, and $4.20. Ambassador Luna, ridden by James Graham, returned $42.40 and $12.80 while finishing a neck in front of favored Campanelle, who rallied for third and paid $3 to show under Joel Rosario.
“She got smashed leaving the gate and got shuffled back and came running (at the end),” Campanelle’s trainer Wesley Ward said. “(It cost her the race) is what the jock said.”
It was another 4 1/4 lengths back to In Good Spirits with Lagertha, Yes It’s Ginger, Catch a Bid, Lead Guitar, Violenza, and She’s So Special following in order.
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