LEXINGTON, KY (Oct. 8, 2016) – Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Kent Desormeaux, Teresa Viola Racing Stables’ Photo Call (IRE) took the lead shortly after the break and set uncontested fractions all the way to the wire, ending Tepin’s eight-race win streak with a front-running 2¾-length victory in the $400,000 First Lady (G1).
Photo Call maintained a double-digit advantage entering the far turn and hit the quarter pole still 10 lengths on top as Tepin began to reduce the margin. However, Tepin’s run was too little too late as Photo Call completed the mile on a firm turf course in 1:35.62 while finishing 2 ¾ lengths in front.
The victory was worth $240,000 and increased Photo Call’s bankroll to $827,102 with a record of 21-6-3-4. Photo Call is a 5-year-old Irish-bred daughter of Galileo (IRE) out of the Rock of Gibralter (IRE) mare Theann (GB).
Photo Call returned $61.40, $10.60 and $5.60. Tepin, ridden by Julien Leparoux, returned $2.20 and $2.10 in finishing 3½ lengths in front of Celestine, who paid $2.40 to show under Junior Alvarado.
It was three lengths back to Nemoralia in fourth and she was followed in order by She’s Not Here, Cash Control, Onus, Now Or Never (IRE), Secret Someone and Mississippi Delta.
Photo Call sold for $3 million at Keeneland’s 2015 November Breeding Stock Sale days after running in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1).
Quotes from the $400,000 First Lady (G1)
Ginny DePasquale (assistant to Todd Pletcher, winning trainer of Photo Call [IRE])
“That was very amazing. We owe it all to Kent (Desormeaux), actually. He did an amazing ride. We’ve obviously very pleased with the outcome. I think the mile (distance of the race) really did it.”
Kent Desormeaux (winning rider of Photo Call [IRE])
“She was really full of herself. She was a pleasure to ride. I just drew on the confidence that Mr. Todd Pletcher asked me to ride her. He doesn’t call often, but when he calls, he’s solid.”
On whether Pletcher told him to go to the front
“I’m sorry, Todd. He told me to cover her up, but that wasn’t possible. That was not going to happen.”
Julien Leparoux (rider of runner-up and beaten favorite Tepin)
“We had a good trip. The winner got loose on the lead but other than that we had a good trip. I can’t take anything away from the winner. The winner ran a big race and my filly ran a big race, too.”
On how he was affected by the winner’s big early lead
“I had to ride my own race. There wasn’t much I could do on the backside. I can’t (move up) that early. She’s still Tepin. She is still an amazing filly. She ran her race.”
Norman Casse (assistant to his father, Mark Casse, who trains Tepin)
“We hoped for the best, but this is why we picked this race in particular. We didn’t really want to run her ‘A’ race today. The goal has always been the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), a repeat there. I haven’t lost any confidence in her, I think we are still set up to do that and she’ll move forward from this race.
“At the top of the lane you could tell that (Photo Call) had too much of a lead and she kicked away. (Tepin) beat another really good horse. Bill Mott’s horse (Celestine) is a good horse. I just think (Photo Call) got away from us a little bit and that’s all it is. This is horse racing.
“I don’t think (Tepin) ran disrespectfully; she ran a good race. I just think the other horse had a better trip and things went her way and we got beat today.”
Junior Alvarado (rider of third-place finisher Celestine)
“I had a good trip. I didn’t want to go head-to-head with the (winner) so I kept my filly in position. I hoped she would come back to me but (Photo Call) just kept going.”
Joe Bravo (rider of fourth-place finisher Nemoralia)
“She had all the antics of a European horse but when she came running she was gorgeous. She got up underneath me beautifully and she was kicking through the lane. They were talking about shortening up in distance for her and I think that would be a wonderful idea. You always want her to win, but she ran fourth and she ran a very good race. I don’t think there was too much in the race we could have done differently. They were some good horses.”