FRANKLIN, KY – Stuart Janney’s homebred On Leave took the lead and then dug in gamely to hold off I Remember Mama and take Saturday’s $250,000 One Dreamer Stakes at Kentucky Downs.
Breaking from post 11 as the 3/2 favorite under Florent Geroux, On Leave settled into fifth early while Youngest Daughter and Burma Road battled up front for the opening 1/2-mile. Tipping out before running strongly down the lane, On Lane took command and initially began drawing off, but a late run from I Remember Mama forced her to fight with everything she had. The Shug McGaughey trainee prevailed, defeating that foe by a 1/2-length at the wire in a final time of 1:45.79 for the 1 mile and 70 yard turf event.
“I was laying about fourth,” Geroux said. “There were about three horses going for the lead and I was on the outside. I sat there and saw those horses were getting tired maybe before the 1/4 pole, so I took my filly out. Actually, I felt I was maybe making the lead a little bit soon, because she’s had the tendency of not winning lately. But when those horses started stopping in front, I didn’t want to take the risk of the heavy favorite being stuck behind horses, so I decided to move from there. She ran all the way to the wire. She got to wandering around the last 1/8 of a mile, but she was able to hold off those horses.”
Last Promise Kept mimicked the runner-up’s failed attempt to rally in the stretch and just missed second by a head while also holding off Dubara by a neck for third. Arraign took fifth over a weakening Burma Road, while Red Dane beat English Affair for seventh. Gianna’s Dream and an emptied Youngest Daughter completed the order of finish. Prado’s Sweet Ride took a bad step shortly after bursting from the gate and was subsequently pulled up and vanned off. Con Te Partiro and Celestial Insight were scratched, with the latter’s connections opting to run in the $100,000 Violet Stakes at Monmouth Park, where she finished fifth.
On Leave’s win was her first since taking the Grade 3 My Charmer Stakes at Gulfstream Park last December and improves her record to 19-8-4-3. The 5-year-old daughter of War Front became a millionaire after the $147,250 first-place prize pushed her career earnings to $1,065,470.
“It looked like she was about the winner the whole way around there,” said Reeve McGaughey, the son of and assistant to the trainer. “I think the horse on the lead stopped pretty quick, so (Florent) probably made the lead a little earlier than he wanted. He said she kind of wanted to wait on other horses, which is not anything new for her, but she finished up well. I think she won pretty comfortably.”
On Leave returned $5 to win, $3.60 to place, and $2.80 to show. I Remember Mama brought back $7.20 to place and $4.60 to show, while Last Promise Kept paid $6 to show.