running of the $174,600 Regret (Grade III) for 3-year-old fillies at Churchill Downs and top off a five-victory day for jockey Robby Albarado.
Trained by Tom Proctor, Keertana had given Albarado his 4,000th career victory on May 30. On Saturday, the Kentucky-bred daughter of Johar out of the Storm Cat mare Motokiks gave Albarado a second stakes victory to go with his score aboard Macho Again in the Stephen Foster Handicap (Grade I).
Keertana covered the 1 1/8 miles on the firm Matt Winn Turf Course in 1:52.02. The victory was her third in eight starts and was worth $105,004 and increased her earnings to $179,664. The victory in the Regret was the second for Proctor, who won the race in 2005 with Rich In Spirit.
Keertana returned $14.80, $6.60 and $4.20. The Best Day Ever, ridden by Corey Lanerie, returned $8 and $4.40 in finishing a neck ahead of Hot Cha Cha, who paid $3.40 to show under Jesus Castanon. Finishing another 1 ¼ lengths back was Banker’s Choice, who was followed in order by Super Poni, Oculuna, Prytania and Rena.
POST-RACE QUOTES – THE REGRET
ROBBY ALBARADO, jockey of KEERTANA (winner)
“Days like today you want to show up and your horses show up as well. I had some great trips and was well mounted all day. I got to ride a really good two-year-old filly (Hot Dixie Chick) for Steve Asmussen, who broke a track record (five furlongs in :58.48), Macho Again, and this filly (Keertana). This filly just keeps getting better with every race. She broke very sharp today and put herself in a forward position. As we went on the backside I felt a little pressure when a couple of the horses started making a move. She turned them away and then held off the late closing (Ken) McPeek filly (The Best Day Ever).”
Q: What about winning the Stephen Foster for the last three years?
“I’ll tell you what, I rode one of my worst races ever in the Stephen Foster aboard Mineshaft in 2003 against Perfect Drift. I’m still not over that yet, but to win it the last three years is very special to me. I’m overjoyed by it. I have been fortunate enough to ride some real good horses in this race.”
TOM PROCTOR, trainer of KEERTANA (winner)
“Good for her (owner Barbara Hunter). She has been in the business forever. I have known her a long time. Last year we got a lucky and won a little stake at Arlington Park and this is even better for her. (Jockey) Robby (Albarado) gets along with Keertana and did a good job. I might go to Virginia (for the Grade III, $150,000 Virginia Oaks on July 18 at Colonial Downs) with her. You never know.”
COREY LANERIE, jockey of THE BEST DAY EVER (runner-up)
“She ran awesome. It was just unfortunate that there was not enough pace for me, but she gave me everything she had.”
Q: Did you think that, despite the lack of pace, you still might get there?
“All the way through the stretch there was no point that I thought I was going to lose, but the wire just kept coming closer and closer and I didn't get by her. But she gave me everything she had; it was a great effort.”
JESUS CASTANON, jockey of HOT CHA CHA (third)
“I had to kind of take her up at the beginning. Around the three-eighths pole I was sitting there waiting and hoping for the best. A hole finally opened at the eighth pole and I went through, but it was a little too late. She ran a good race, but she could have used a little racing luck.”
JULIEN LEPAROUX, jockey of PRYTANIA (seventh as the favorite)
“I just took her back and saved ground, but she never really run after that. There’s not really much excuse. She just didn’t run today.”