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LEXINGTON, KY – An ultra-gutsy effort from pacesetting Blowout kept fellow Chad Brown trainee and Peter Brant-owned runner Regal Glory at bay the length of the stretch to wire Saturday’s $400,000 First Lady Stakes (G1) Presented by UK HealthCare at Keeneland.
The First Lady is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, awarding an automatic berth in the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Del Mar this November.
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Blowout broke alertly from post 9 at 5/1 odds under Flavien Prat and went straight to the lead as expected, where she posted opening fractions of :23.76, :47.74, and 1:11.67.
Straightening for home with her earlier advantage all but gone, Blowout came under pressure from Regal Glory at the top of the stretch but never let her rival get past.
Blowout crossed the wire a 1/2-length better than Regal Glory to give Brown his record fourth straight title in the First Lady (and fifth overall) while completing the good turf mile route in 1:34.86.
“As usual, she showed a lot of speed out of the gate, and I was able to get myself comfortable on the lead where I didn’t have too much pressure,” Prat said. “She relaxed well down the backside. She fought really hard down the lane because she lost the lead for a little bit, but she dug in and fought back and really made a great stretch run.”
Invading European runners took the next two spots, with Empress Josephine rallying late to finish third within a 1/2-length of second in her North American racing debut. The 6/5 favorite Althiqa suffered a tough traffic-filled trip before crossing fourth over Abscond.
“We got in tight on a speed-favoring track,” Althiqa’s jockey Jamie Spencer said. “She ran a good race, we just needed a little more racing luck.”
Viadera (the third Brown runner), Harvey’s Lil Goil, Daddy Is a Legend (who broke awkwardly and trailed early), Dalika, Hendy Woods, Star Command, and La Signare completed the order of finish. Princess Grace scratched.
Blowout’s win was her second of the year following the Distaff Turf Mile Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs and improved her overall record to 14-5-7-1, with her lone off-the-board effort coming last out when fourth (missing third by a neck) in the Fourstardave Handicap (G1). The British-bred 5-year-old Dansili mare, whose entire racing career has been stateside, has now banked $988,600.
“She’s a really special filly for us, for my boss, Chad Brown,” said assistant trainer Baldo Hernandez. “She does everything we ask. She’s improving a lot. She came here to Keeneland and gave a really good performance. She’s as good as she can be. She tries every time she runs.”
Blowout returned $12.60 to win, $6.40 to place, and $4.80 to show. Regal Glory brought back $7.40 to place and $5 to show. Empress Josephine paid $8.20 to show.
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