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LOUISVILLE, KY – Coffeepot Stables’ Liora took command early, then dug in gamely for the length of the stretch to repel the 3/5 favorite Restless Rider and win Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Golden Rod Stakes at Churchill Downs.
Breaking alertly from post 6 under Channing Hill at 27/1 odds, Liora took command and posted opening fractions of :24.81, :49.68, and 1:14.70 while Break Curfew and Restless Rider kept close company. Angled off the rail as she turned for home, Liora dug in and fought strongly to keep her heavily-favored foe at bay just long enough to win by a nose. The final time for the 8 1/2-furlong event over the sloppy (sealed) main track was 1:46.25.
“She’s an awesome filly,” Hill said. “The only real concern from a pace standpoint was Chad Brown’s filly (Break Curfew). She had showed a little bit of speed prior. Wayne always tells me to let them break and see what happens. I kept giving her little taps late in the stretch and she kept finding more. She galloped out really well, too.”
Unable to seize the lead, Restless Rider was well-clear of High Regard for second. Champagne Anyone crossed in fourth, while Gold Credit was 3/4 of a length past Princess Causeway for fifth. Break Curfew and Reflect completed the order of finish.
The Golden Rod is part of the Road to the 2019 Kentucky Oaks prep race season. Liora earned 10 points for the win, with Restless Rider receiving 4 for second, High Regard 2 for third, and Champagne Anyone 1 for fourth.
Trained by Wayne Catalano, Liora’s win was her second straight, having broken her maiden by 9 lengths here last out on October 28 at the same distance. The juvenile daughter of Candy Ride now sports a record of 4-2-0-1 with earnings of $176,580.
“On paper it was a really tough race,” Catalano said. “This filly showed a lot of talent training for this race. She’s been full circle. We ran her at Saratoga and that didn’t really work out. Then, we tried her on the grass and she ran okay but when she broke her maiden she showed her talent. We decided to take the Farrell route and now she’s on the Kentucky Oaks trail.”
Liora returned $56.80 to win, $12.60 to place, and $6.80 to show. Restless Rider brought back $2.40 to place and $2.20 to show, while High Regard paid $7.40 to show.
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