HENDERSON, KY – Lady Kate may still be seeking her first graded-stakes victory but the daughter of Bernardini scored a victory that was certainly of the highest quality when she carried her speed every step in winning the $100,000 Groupie Doll Stakes by 4 ¾ lengths at Ellis Park.
The Groupie Doll Stakes was one of five stakes at the Pea Patch on Sunday.
Quality and quantity were the name of the game in the Groupie Doll as the 11-horse field included Grade 1 winner Street Band and multiple graded-stakes winner Lady Apple, that latter of whom also finished third in the 2019 Kentucky Oaks. The Eddie Kenneally-trained Lady Kate earned herself a chance to tackle such class when she won an allowance-optional claiming race at Churchill Downs on June 21 in gate-to-wire fashion, and she basically give a repeat of that run to earn her first stakes win.
“She broke sharp today and ran a very, very good race. We’re delighted with her,” Kenneally said. “She’s been stakes-placed, but it’s nice to win a stakes with her. She’s just having a very good year. There was a Grade 1 winner in there, some very nice fillies and a full field, too. She took full advantage of maybe the track is speed-biased today, I don’t know. But it worked out.”
Sent off at 4-1 odds, Lady Kate took it to her challengers out of post No. 4 and carried jockey Florent Geroux through fractions of :23.67 and :47.03 with New Roo to her outside in second.
New Roo looked to draw on even terms with the pacesetter around the far turn but Lady Kate hit another gear at the top of the stretch and left the rest battling for minor honors as she crossed the wire in 1:35.89 for eight furlongs.
“She has good tactical speed and she broke very alertly, so I took advantage of it,” Geroux said. “Going into the lead she was nice and relaxed. When I asked her turning to home, she gave me another gear and she was ahead to win the race.”
New Roo held for second place with Istan Council up for third. Street Band, sent off as the favorite, finished sixth.
“Istan Council ran well. She wasn’t picked to run well, but she ran a good race,” said trainer Larry Jones, who saddled both Istan Council and Street Band. “Street Band had been off a while and, with the weather being so bad the last week, missed a lot of training. We missed what would have been for her a serious six days, so we just had to do the best we could. You could tell she got a little short. Turning for home she was starting to labor. The race was quick today. It was a good race.”
Owned by Anderson Stables, Lady Kate bolstered her record to five wins from 11 starts with $249,470 in earnings with four of her victories coming in this her 4-year-old season. She opened her 2020 campaign with consecutive triumphs at Gulfstream Park prior to running fifth in the Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie Stakes on March 14 and seventh in an allowance optional claiming race at Churchill Downs May 16.
Kenneally said he would look at one of the stakes at Churchill Downs during Kentucky Derby Week for Lady Kate.
Lady Kate was bred in Kentucky by Godolphin and Eileen H. Hartis out of the Street Cry (IRE) mare Princess Haya.