(May 26, 2008) – Graeme Six collected the first graded stakes win of her career in the $107,600 Winning Colors Stakes (Grade III) with a 1 ½-length triumph over defending champ Miss Macy Sue and Change Up on Memorial Day at Churchill Downs.
Graeme Six, ridden by Julien Leparoux, ran six furlongs over a “fast” main track in 1:09.17. Tom Amoss trains the 4-year-old filly for Tom O’Grady, Johns Martin and Team West Side Stables.
“Horses have used this race as a springboard for big things at the end of the year, and now that the Breeders’ Cup has incorporated a sprint for fillies, we’re excited about the opportunity to perhaps try that if she stays 100 percent,” Amoss said. “This is a top filly, and I don’t use those words all of the time. But this is a top filly and if she stays together she’ll be a factor at the end of the year in that kind of race.”
Graeme Six, the 5-2 second choice in the field of six fillies and mares, was positioned just behind leaders Change Up, Pretty Jenny and Adhrhythm in the early stages of the sprint. After the first quarter mile was run in :22.11, Graeme Six began her winning move from the outside on the final turn, drew even with Change Up through a half-mile in :45.03 and put away that rival inside the final eighth of a mile. She held off a late run from 7-5 favorite Miss Macy Sue, who broke slowly from the starting gate.
“She ran a beautiful race,” Leparoux said. “She relaxed for me today. She’s a filly that can break sharp and you can do really anything you want, but today she didn’t really break sharp. So I put her behind the lead and she was very comfortable. She had a little bit more for the finish, and that was good.”
The runner-up to Dream Rush in last summer’s Grade I Prioress Stakes at Belmont Park, Graeme Six won for the fifth time in 14 career starts. Her $66,045 first-place check jumped her career earnings to $311,854.
The daughter of Graeme Hall, bred in Florida by William and Annabel Murphy, returned $7, $3 and $2.20. Miss Macy Sue, ridden by Eusebio Razo Jr., paid $2.80 and $2.10. Change Up, with Robby Albarado in the irons, returned $3.
Gem Sleuth, Pretty Jenny and Adhrhythm completed the order of finish.
After a two-day break on Tuesday and Wednesday following the special Memorial Day racing program, Churchill Downs will resume live racing Thursday with a nine-race card at 1:15 p.m. ET.
A stakes tripleheader awaits horseplayers Saturday as the Louisville racetrack stages the $125,000-added Aristides Stakes (GIII) for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs; the $100,000-added Dogwood Stakes (GIII) for 3-year-old fillies at one mile; and $100,000-added Opening Verse Handicap for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles on turf.
Graded stakes winners Elite Squadron, Kelly’s Landing and Noonmark are expected to clash in the Aristides. The second, third and fourth place finishers from the LaTroienne (GIII) – Forward Gal (GII) bridesmaid Keep the Peace, Tiz to Dream and Fantasy runner-up Alina – could renew their rivalry in the Dogwood. Multi-millionaire Cloudy’s Knight is possible to make his first start since capturing the Group 1 Canadian International at Woodbine last Oct. 27 in the Opening Verse.
Winning Colors Stakes Jockey & Trainer Quotes
TOM AMOSS, trainer of GRAEME SIX (winner)
“That’s not lost on us that horses have used this race as a springboard for big things at the end of the year, and now that the Breeders’ Cup has incorporated a sprint for fillies, we’re excited about the opportunity to perhaps try that if she stays 100 percent.”
Q: She’s run well over synthetic, too…
“That she has.”
Q: We’re you pretty comfortable with her going into this race?
“I was very fearful of Miss Macy Sue. I think she’s a really good mare and I knew that her race was compromised last time (in the Humana Distaff) and that she’s a lot better than the race she ran on Derby weekend. I thought that she was the one to beat, and based on how they ran and that time of the race, that’s how it worked out.”
Q: The Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint would be race you’d look toward with her?
“This is a top filly, and I don’t use those words all of the time. But this is a top filly and if she stays together she’ll be a factor at the end of the year in that kind of race.”
Q: She had gotten caught in a speed-duel in the Humana Distaff last time out…
“She got cooked on the front end in a really funny-run race, which happens. But we saw the real Graeme Six today and she’s a gamer. She is diminutive. She’s probably a 900 pound animal, which is small for a racehorse. What she lacks in size, she makes up for in heart. I know that’s used a lot, but that’s true for her.”
Q: Did you feel comfortable with her all the way around?
“Not necessarily the first eighth of a mile, but around the turn I liked our position.”
Q: What would be next for her?
“The owners and I are going to sit down and talk about it. But we know that, particularly with the hot summer coming up, we need to space our races and plan for the long term here. So it wouldn’t surprise me if Graeme took a little bit of a breather before her next start.”
JULIEN LEPAROUX, jockey on GRAEME SIX (winner)
“She ran a beautiful race. She relaxed for me today. She’s filly that can break sharp and you can do really anything you want, but today she didn’t really break sharp. So I put her behind the lead and she was very comfortable. She had a little bit more for the finish, and that was good.”
Q: She just went too fast in the early going last time out…
“She broke really fast that day and we got in a duel. There were four of us together and it was seven furlongs, so it was long, too, for her.”
Q: Did you feel pretty comfortable when you turned for home with her?
“Yes, when I got her to relax and we got into the turn, I was pretty comfortable.”
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