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Phola Goes From Last to First to Win Churchill Distaff Turf Mile Presented by American Commercial Lines

| Churchill Downs Communications | 06/17/2010 #

LOUISVILLE, KY (Saturday, May 1, 2010) – Graydon Patterson and Partners’ Phola rallied from last place in a field of seven to post a 1 1/4-length victory over Hot Cha Cha in the $223,200 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile Presented by American Commercial Lines (GII) on Saturday afternoon at Churchill Downs.

    Phola gave jockey Ramon Dominguez and trainer Todd Pletcher their first victory in the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile Presented by American Commercial Lines.

    Phola, a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Johannesburg out of the Petionville mare Humbling (IRE), covered the distance on a “yielding” Matt Winn Turf Course in 1:38.35.

    Cure for Sale (ARG) opened a daylight lead quickly and led the field through fractions of :24.93, :49.67 and 1:14.28. Dominguez was content to keep Phola at the back of the pack and still trailed the field turning for home.

    At the eighth pole, Hot Cha Cha surged past Cure for Sale, but her lead was short-lived as Phola swept by the sixteenth pole en route to victory.

    The victory, the fifth in 11 career starts, was worth $135,616 and increased Phola’s earnings to $330,161. It was her second consecutive graded stakes score, coming on the heels of a victory in the Hillsborough (GIII) at Tampa Bay Downs on March 13.

    Phola returned mutuels of $15.40, $6.80 and $4.60. Hot Cha Cha, ridden by James Graham, paid $5.20 and $4. It was another 1 ¼ lengths back to Miss Keller (IRE), who paid $6.20 to show under Javier Castellano. Fantasia (GB) finished another two lengths back in fourth and was followed in order by Tizaqueena, Cure for Sale (ARG) and Diamondrella (GB).

CHURCHILL DISTAFF TURF MILE PRESENTED BY AMERICAN COMMERCIAL LINES QUOTES

RAMON DOMINGUEZ (Jockey, Phola, winner) – “We had a great trip. The filly definitely loves soft going. (Trainer) Todd (Pletcher) asked me to ride her pretty much like we did last time. She’s so easy on herself. The ground is so soft, you don’t really know what you have until you send her, when you ask her she’s got a three-sixteenths, quarter of a mile (kick).”

TODD PLETCHER (Trainer, Phola, winner) – “We handled soft ground at Tampa last time out, so we were optimistic that she’d handle it today, though this is softer than she ran on before. She’s just a filly who’s finding herself and getting good. She’s getting better and better with every race. We’ll probably run her in the Just A Game (GI) at Belmont on Belmont Day. My father bought her originally for himself for $50,000 after she was third in the Arlington-Washington Lassie. Wayne Patterson contacted him and they bought a majority interest. But he stayed in for a piece.”

JAMES GRAHAM (Jockey, Hot Cha Cha, second):  “I thought coming out of the turn they would have to chase me but they just came and got us late. My filly never stopped running though.”

PHILLIP SIMS (Trainer, Hot Cha Cha, second):  “I am happy with second but of course we would have rather won. She ran good on a soft turf. The distance was our problem. We needed more. She’s more of a 1 1/16 miles and 1 1/8 miles horse. We took a shot here and it worked out all right. There are some races in Chicago that probably fit her better that we will run back in come August.”

JAVIER CASTELLANO (Jockey, Miss Keller, third): “We had a good trip right off the speed, saving ground all the way in the race. She gave me the late quick. When Phola got to the quarter pole turning for home, she got a big jump. When I asked my filly, she didn’t take off. She took a couple of couple of strides to get going. When she got in stride she finished very strong, but it was too late.”

SUE LORIMER (Assistant trainer to Roger Attfield, Miss Keller, third): “She ran well, just maybe got running a little too late.”

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