LEXINGTON, KY – Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Martin Schwartz, and China Horse Club’s Valiance took over at the 1/8 pole and drew off to win Sunday’s $400,000 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (G1) at Keeneland.
The Spinster is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with Valiance receiving an automatic berth in the Longines Distaff at Keeneland this November.
Valiance broke from post 5 under Luis Saez at 6/1 odds and remained outside of her rivals in the clear heading into the clubhouse turn.
Recent Kentucky Oaks (G1) champion and 6/5 favorite Shedaresthedevil shot to the lead and raced inside of Lady Kate through opening fractions of :23.62, :46.97, and 1:10.85.
Ranging up at the 1/4 pole to try for the lead, Valiance met Shedaresthedevil’s eye and soon pulled ahead.
The Todd Pletcher trainee fended off Ollie’s Candy late to win the 1 1/8-mile fast dirt route by 3/4 of a length in 1:49.76.
“That was the plan, to let those fillies go on the lead and see if we can catch them,” Saez said. “Everything came so perfect the way we planned it. When we came to the straight, it was a battle, but she did it pretty good, and she fired and won the race.”
Shedaresthedevil weakened to third, 2 1/2 lengths behind Ollie’s Candy.
Lady Kate, Saracosa, and Our Super Freak completed the order of finish.
Valiance’s win was her third straight following the Eatontown Stakes at Monmouth Park and improved her overall record to 8-6-0-0. The 4-year-old Tapit filly, purchased for $650,000 as a yearling, has now earned $469,575.
“It seemed like she had simply been training better on dirt than she ever did previously,” Pletcher said. “When the Eatontown came off the turf at Monmouth and she ran … it was very impressive the way she did that that day. The margin doesn’t do justice to how easily she won that day. That’s when we started thinking about taking a shot in a big one.”
Valiance returned $14.80 to win, $5.60 to place, and $2.80 to show. Ollie’s Candy brought back $4 to place and $2.40 to show, while Shedaresthedevil paid $2.20 to show.