Prado’s Sweet Ride, last  in a field of six at the top of the stretch, unleashed a furious late rally to catch pacesetter Lady Zuzu near the finish to win Saturday’s 46th running of the $100,000, Grade III Regret Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on turf by a head in the first of four stakes races run on Saturday’s Downs After Dark night racing program at Churchill Downs.

Ridden by Julien Leparoux – a late substitute for jockey Florent Geroux, who was originally scheduled to ride – Prado’s Sweet Ride settled 8 ½ lengths behind the lead before she launched her winning charge and paid $21, $6.40 and $4. Lady Zuzu, who opened a 3 ½ length lead in mid-stretch under jockey Robby Albarado before giving way in the final strides, returned $3.80 and $3. Return to Grace finished 1 ¼ lengths back of the top pair in third under Corey Lanerie and paid $3 to show. Favored Don’t Leave Me finished fourth.

The winning time for 1 1/8 miles over firm turf was 1:51.88.

Trained by Chicago-based Chris Block and owned by Darrell and Sadie Brommer, Prado’s Sweet Pride won for the fourth time in six career races and improved her lifetime earnings to $135,780. The Illinois-bred daughter of Fort Prado made amends for a poor last outing in which she ran sixth in the Indy Star Stakes at Indiana Grand – a loss that snapped a three-race winning streak for Block’s filly. That setback was her only defeat in five races on turf and each of her four grass wins was scored at a different racetrack.

“They were running at a pretty good pace so were at the back of the pack, but she settled very nicely,” Leparoux said. “Trainer [Chris Block] told me that she had a good run but a small run, and to just be patient with her and ask her at the last quarter of a mile only and we won by not that much.”

Lady Zuzu assumed the lead shortly after the start, kicked clear on the far turn and opened her advantage to 3 ½ lengths with a furlong to go. But Leparoux moved Prado’s Sweet Ride to the outside on the far turn and took aim on the leader at the stop of the stretch. Lady Zuzu stubbornly held the lead until the final yards, but Prado’s Sweet Ride rally too much and the latter just got up to win.

Cristina’s Journey finished fifth and Urtheoneeyelove was last of the Regret’s field of six 3-year-old fillies. American Mon Amie was a late scratch.

JULIEN LEPAROUX, jockey of PRADO’S BEST RIDE, winner): “I just got settled. They were running at a pretty good pace so were at the back of the pack, but she settled very nicely. Trainer [Chris Block] told me that she had a good run but a small run and to just be patient with her and ask her at the last quarter of a mile only and we won by not that much. But she ran a big race. If you ask her too early, she will get too tired at the end.”

CHRIS BLOCK, trainer of PRADO’S BEST RIDE (winner): “The mile-and-an-eighth was very enticing for me. I had the older siblings and they could go that far. Her last race was run weirdly, but she bounced out of it really quickly. I thought that looking at the spot it would be a good chance to win a Grade III with her and it worked out well in the end. With two races back-to-back like this she’ll need some time. The ultimate goal would be the (Aug. 15) Pucker Up at Arlington, but I’ll have to see what I can find.”

ROBBY ALBARADO, jockey of Lady Zuzu (second): “It [the start] didn’t matter, she got settled in nicely, it was to her benefit. I thought she got pinched but she settled nice, took over the field on the backside and she finished well.”

 

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