LOUISVILLE, KY – A return to turf proved to be the terrific tonic for Harvey’s Lil Goil, who won Saturday’s $100,000 Regret Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs.
Breaking from post 10 under Martin Garcia at 11/1 odds, Harvey’s Lil Goil was forwardly-placed in prime stalking position behind Eve of War, who posted opening fractions of :23.26, :47.48, and 1:11.80.
Turning for home just behind the pacesetter, Harvey’s Lil Goil shot to the front and had enough left to hold off the 6/5 favorite Crystal Cliffs , who made a late bid along the rail that ultimately was not enough. The Bill Mott trainee completed the 1 1/8-mile firm turf route in 1:47.70.
“I thought we were in a little bit of trouble when (Crystal Cliffs) dove to the rail,” said Mott’s assistant trainer Kenny McCarthy. “However, when she got to her late in the stretch, she was able to fight back.”
The French-bred Crystal Cliffs’ second North American start was not as successful as her first, ultimately missing by a head as the bettors’ choice. In Good Spirits was 3/4 of a length ahead of Pass the Plate, with Dominga the same distance further back in fifth.
Stunning Sky, Hendy Woods, Micheline, Eve of War, Wexx, Edgee Angel, Witez, and His Glory completed the order of finish.
Harvey’s Lil Goil’s win was her first since taking February’s Busanda Stakes over the Aqueduct dirt and her first over the turf, having finished fourth last November in her career debut. The 3-year-old American Pharoah filly improved her record to 5-3-0-0 with $154,529 earned for the Estate of Harvey Clarke (who bred her) and Paul Braverman.
Harvey’s Lil Goil returned $24.20 to win, $7.60 to place, and $5.40 to show. Crystal Cliffs brought back $3.20 to place and $3 to show, while In Good Spirits paid $6.20 to show.