LOUISVILLE, KY – Patricia Moseley’s homebred Proctor’s Ledge rallied the length of the stretch and passed On Leave just in time to take Saturday’s Grade 2, $300,000 Longines Churchill Distaff Turf Mile Stakes at Churchill Downs.
Breaking well from post 6 under John Velazquez, Proctor’s Ledge settled mid-pack early while Psycho Sister set quick splits of :23.85 and :48.35. On Leave took over halfway through the far turn and shook clear slightly in the stretch, but near the 1/8 pole, Velazquez tipped Proctor’s Ledge out of traffic and commenced a chase. Continuing to run hard towards the front, Proctor’s Ledge collared and tipped past On Leave to win by a 1/2-length in a final time of 1:36.30 over a turf course rated good.
“I had a perfect trip,” Velazquez said. “We broke pretty well and got into the position I wanted to be in. I didn’t want to be too far back. She settled well, and after that, I bided my time to get a nice run down the lane. When the time came, I pulled her out; she responded right away.”
The lukewarm 4-1 favorite Dream Awhile wasn’t as lucky as the winner in clearing traffic, having to wait until late to split horses and get up for a gaining third. Dream Dancing took fourth, with Madame Stripes taking fifth by a 1/2-length over La Coronel. Seventh went to Madam Dancealot, with Thundering Sky, Res Ipsa, Psycho Sister, and Insta Erma completing the order of finish.
Proctor’s Ledge returned to the winner’s circle for the first time since back-to-back graded stakes scores at Saratoga last summer. The 4-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper improved her record to 12-5-2-1 with career earnings of $579,090 for trainer Brendan Walsh.
“I walked the turf course this morning before training and after, and then the rain started,” Walsh said. “I was a little concerned because she has generally done her best running on fast ground, but we really didn’t have any concrete proof that she wouldn’t mind a little cut in the ground. It’s still very good out there, but they are kicking the top off. I didn’t want her to have another bad race. I talked to Mrs. Moseley a couple of hours ago, and we decided we’d give it a shot. Johnny gave her a super, super ride. She showed the filly she is today. She’s a good filly.”
Proctor’s Ledge returned $15.60 to win, $8 to place, and $5 to show. On Leave brought back $5.60 to place and $3.60 to show, while Dream Awhile paid $3.60 to show.