LEXINGTON, KY – The 7-2 morning line favorite, Valadorna, made easy work of the 12 horse field in Friday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare Stakes at Keeneland. Her win came as a nice rebound off of her disappointing sixth place finish in the Grade 3 Houston Ladies Classic in January and marks her first career graded stakes victory.
Apologynotaccepted and Jenda’s Agenda together took the early lead and set a pace of :23:39 and :46.77. The duo was followed by Someday Soon, who broke well from the outside post and sat just off the leaders. Meanwhile, Valadorna sat comfortably midpack while Song of Spring and post-time favorite Well Humored took up the rear. As they neared the 1/4 pole, jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr. maneuvered Valadorna to the outside where she was able to quickly make up ground on the leading pair. By the top of the stretch, Jenda’s Agenda tired, leaving Apologynotaccepted as the sole horse left to contest Valadorna’s late push. Valadorna proved to be the best as she finished just about a length ahead of Apologynotaccepted. Song of Spring made a strong late run that was enough to complete the trifecta finishing just behind Apologynotaccepted.
Jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr didn’t appear to be the least bit surprised by Valadorna’s impressive performance. After the race, he said, “Going around the second turn, I figured I’d be wide…I had a lot of confidence in her. I wanted to give her the smoothest, cleanest trip possible.”
“She settled in beautifully, and she just blossomed. She was training beautifully,” said assistant trainer David Carrol. “We would have been very disappointed if she didn’t perform today.”
Valadorna is owned by Stonestreet Stables and trained by Mark Casse. This was the first career graded stakes win for the four-year-old daughter Curlin and brought her lifetime earnings to $558,920.
Valadorna returned $8.80 to win, $5.20 to place, and $4.00 to show. Apologynotaccepted brought back $18.80 to place and $9.60 to show, while Song of Spirit paid $6.20 to show.
Scratched: Not Now Carolyn