Jacks or Better Farm’s Bayou’s Lassie scored a front-running victory in the 19th running of the $169,050 Churchill Downs Distaff Turf Mile (Grade III) at Churchill Downs on Saturday afternoon, defeating 2006 Eclipse Award winner Dreaming of Anna by 1 ¼ lengths.
Ridden by Edgar Prado, Bayou’s Lassie outfooted Dreaming of Anna to the lead in the run to the first turn and proceeded to set fractions of :24.44, :48.12 and 1:12.60 over a turf course labeled as “good.” Cornelio Velasquez ranged up to Bayou’s Lassie entering the head of the stretch, but never was able to push on by.
The winner, trained by Dale Romans, covered the mile in 1:37.70. It was the second win in the Churchill Distaff Turf for Romans, who saddled 1997 winner B.A. Valentine.
Bayou’s Lassie is a five-year-old Florida-bred mare by Outflanker out of the Bayou Hebert mare Bayou Plans. The victory was worth $101,667 and increased Bayou’s Lassie’s earnings to $647,241. She has won nine of 16 career starts.
Bayou’s Lassie, the third-longest price in the field of eight fillies and mares three-years-old and up, returned mutuels of $26.20, $8.20 and $4.20. Dreaming of Anna, never worse than second in 10 turf starts in her career, paid $3.60 and $2.60, finishing 2 ½ lengths in front of Ventura, who paid $3 to show under Garrett Gomez.
Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 134th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 3, 2008. The track’s 2008 Spring Meet runs from April 26 through July 6. Churchill Downs has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record six times. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.churchilldowns.com.
STAKES QUOTES: THE CHURCHILL DISTAFF TURF MILE
Edgar Prado (winning jockey, Bayou’s Lassie) – “Dale said he thought our best shot was to go for the lead and take Dreaming of Anna out of her game. That’s what we did and it worked. We were in a great position. When she came at us, my horse just took off again. She won very comfortably.”
Dale Romans (winning trainer, Bayou’s Lassie) – “Mr. (Fred) Brei called me after she won her last race (the L and D Farm Turf Distaff Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on April 5) and wanted to send her to Kentucky. We’d done business before, and this looked like a logical spot for her.
“He’d been telling me all along that this filly is fast, she could sustain a long run so we tried to take the race to Dreaming of Anna, thought if we could get in front of her and make her try to take back off (the lead), we might have more horse than her turning for home, and it worked out perfectly. Edgar rode a perfect race.”
On Bayou’s Lassie’s next race...
“I don’t know. I’ll have to talk to the owner, and we’ll figure out something.”
Cornelio Velazquez (jockey, Dreaming of Anna, 2nd) – “Not being on the lead was not an issue. I was comfortable with my position. I just ran out of horse at the end.”
Garrett Gomez (jockey, Ventura, 3rd) – “I had a real good trip. There’s really soft going out there now and horses are having trouble getting through it. My little filly ran a good race. She just couldn’t get in and out of (the turf) as well as the horses in front of us. She still ran a really good race and hung on for third in it.”