Eldon Farm Equine’s Just Louise put away 3-5 favorite Salty Strike in deep stretch and then held off a late surge from Tristanme to win the 110th running of the $108,800 Debutante Stakes (GIII) for 2-year-old fillies by a neck on Saturday afternoon at Churchill Downs.

 Trained Dale Romans and ridden by Robby Albarado, Just Louise tracked the early pace of Big Sweets and Salty Strike, who blistered the first quarter-mile in :21.14. Midway on the far turn, Albarado sent Just Louise up three wide to grab the lead from Big Sweets as Salty Strike dropped back to third.

Turning for home after a half-mile in :44.73, Just Louise had the lead, but Salty Strike, under Calvin Borel, re-rallied on the rail to take the lead in upper stretch. Salty Strike maintained the advantage until fewer than 50 yards remained when Just Louise eased by and had enough left to hold off Tristanme, ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan.

Just Louise ran the six furlongs on a fast main track in 1:11.85. The victory, the second in as many starts for the homebred daughter of Five Star Day out of the Mt. Livermore mare Kings Lynn, was worth $66,107 and increased her bankroll to $94,907.

 Second choice in the field of seven, Just Louise returned $5.60, $3.80 and $2.20. Tristanme returned $16 and $5 with Salty Strike, finishing a nose back in third, paying $2.10 to show. Completing the field in order were Internet Café, Tater Taunter, Bach Hamilton and Big Sweets.

 Racing resumes Sunday with a 10-race program beginning at 12:45 p.m. (ET). There’s a one-day Pick 6 carryover of $5,088 on races 5-10. Only five dates remain at the 2010 Spring Meet, which concludes Sunday, July 4.


ROBBY ALBARADO (jockey, JUST LOUISE, winner): “She’s a very a nice filly, very smart. I got lucky with my draw on the outside (post six of seven), which was good for her. She won very impressive. Last time she beat a bunch of good maidens, and the same with Salty Strike. I had an option to ride either one and you could split them. But the way her (Just Louise) running style is fits just in case she gets behind horses. She ran big. I had to keep her running down the stretch. She kind of looked around a little bit, they battled back and forth and she got her head in front.”

DALE ROMANS (trainer, JUST LOUISE, winner): “She’s a very nice filly and she’s just like her sister (half to 2008 Pocahontas winner Sara Louise). This race is something for her to improve off of. She dug in game. I thought at the top of the lane it would open up, but you know Calvin (Borel aboard Salty Strike) had a lot of horse, and it was a dogfight to the end. She will point toward the Saratoga meet.”

SHAUN BRIDGMOHAN (jockey, TRISTANME, second): “We went good. She ran hard and good and she was able to close off that pace.”

SCOTT BLASI (assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen, TRISTANME, second): “She ran her race and she finished well. We were just unlucky to win. The filly that won (Just Louise) ran a big race. She’ll improve off this effort.”

CALVIN BOREL (jockey, SALTY STRIKE, third): “No excuse. We got outrun. The six horse (Just Louise) was right there with us, and turning for home, I thought I was home free but didn’t have it today.”

PHILIP BAUER (assistant to trainer Ken McPeek, SALTY STRIKE, third): “The speed up front didn’t help us, but she ran a game race. We were proud of her effort. This was just her second start and she will continue to improve. Being by Smart Strike she has the pedigree to go further and we will try doing that at Saratoga. She fought hard today.”

NOTES: Jockey Robby Albarado and trainer Dale Romans collected their first stakes wins of the 2010 Spring Meet. … It was the 64th Churchill Downs stakes win for Albarado (second all time behind Pat Day’s 156) and 24th for Romans (ranks seventh all time). …Albarado won the Debutante for the third time. He also piloted Effectual and Garden District to victories in 2005 and ’08, respectively. … Romans collected his first Debutante win after finishing second in two previous editions: Vibs (2002) and Joint Effort (2005). … After quick early splits of :21.14 and :44.73, the leaders completed the final quarter mile in :27.12 and the last eighth in :14.07.

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 host the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 7, 2011 and the Kentucky Oaks on Friday, May 6, 2011. The track’s 2010 Spring Meet continues through Sunday, July 4. Churchill Downs is scheduled to host the Breeders’ Cup World Championships for a record seventh time on Nov. 5 and 6, 2010. Churchill Downs tickets are available at Tickets.ChurchillDowns.com or by calling (502) 636-4400. Additional information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at ChurchillDowns.com.

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