Eclipse Award winning-jockey Garrett Gomez hand-rode Hystericalady to a 7 ½-length triumph over Initforthekandy in Saturday’s $321,900 Fleur de Lis Handicap (Grade II) at Churchill Downs.
The 5-year-old mare, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, ran 1 1/8 miles on a “fast” main track in 1:50.88 en route to the fifth graded stakes victory of her 19-race career.
Overall, it was Hystericalady’s ninth win for owners Rancho San Miguel, Tom Clark, George Todaro and Hollendorfer. The $199,578 winner’s share of the purse pushed her lifetime earnings to $1,510,556.
Hystericalady, the 1-2 favorite in the field of five fillies and mares, pressed the early pace set by Initforthekandy, who ran the first quarter-mile in :24.78 and the half in :49.69. Into the far turn, Gomez urged Hystericalady to the front and the daughter of Distorted Humor responded nicely. She passed the six-furlong marker in 1:13.67, and drew off when asked in upper stretch.
Hystericalady paid $3 and $2.20. Initforthekandy, the longest shot at 15-1 under John McKee, held second and returned $7.20.
Kathleens Reel, Aspiring and Peach Flambe completed the order of finish. Cowgirls Don’t Cry was scratched.
Hystericalady, the Northern California invader who finished second to champion Ginger Punch in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff (GI), returned to Churchill Downs Saturday for the third time in her career. Last year, she won the Humana Distaff (GI), then finished third in this year’s renewal on the May 3 Kentucky Derby undercard.
She has now won two of four starts this year. Her 2008 campaign also includes a victory in the Azeri Stakes (GIII) at Oaklawn Park.
STAKES QUOTES: THE FLEUR DE LIS HANDICAP
GARRETT GOMEZ (jockey, Hystericalady) – “This is the first time I have ridden her and she is a nice, nice mare. I thought there might be one or two more horses go for the lead. I eased her out at the half-mile and she moved on. At the head of the stretch, she gave me a little more kick than I was expecting.”
JERRY HOLLENDORFER (trainer, Hystericalady) – “This worked out good for us. I am not sure when her next race is going to be, but it probably won’t be at Del Mar. I would think she may run two more times before the Breeders’ Cup."
(Regarding running on a synthetic surface at Santa Anita in the Breeders’ Cup, on a surface she never has won on): “I can say that it is not her best surface, but she still has run well on it. Hopefully we will be around at the year of the year and get back to Santa Anita.”
JOHN MCKEE (jockey, Initforthekandy) – “She ran a really big race. (Trainer Jeff) Talley had here well-conditioned going into it. At the top of the lane when she (Hystericalady) came by, she (Initforthekandy) dug in. But I knew she was just too much for me. She ran up on to get second and she was determined.”