Marylou Whitney Stables’ Hard Legacy led wire-to-wire in Saturday’s $150,000 Regret (Grade III) at Churchill Downs to give trainer Norm Casse his first stakes victory.
Hard Legacy, a 3-year-old daughter of Hard Spun, ran 1 1/8 miles over the firm Matt Winn Turf Course in 1:48.22 to win the Regret by a final margin of 1 ¼ lengths under jockey Julien Leparoux.
“Churchill Downs is my home, Louisville is my home, to win my first stakes win here is so special,” Casse said. “I thought today would be the day. Hard Legacy had been training very well, we had Julien up, it was time to get the first stakes win. Hopefully the first of many.”
Hard Legacy and Winter Sunset dueled on the lead into the first turn before Hard Legacy took command of the field of 11 3-year-old fillies through an opening quarter mile in :23.62. Leparoux slowed down the fractions up the backstretch with a half-mile time of :48.06 and six-furlong split of 1:12.94. Winter Sunset re-rallied alongside Hard Legacy at the top of the stretch but could not get by in the late stages of the race.
Hard Legacy returned $13.80, $6.60 and $4.60. Winter Sunset, under jockey Channing Hill, held second to return $5.40 and $3.40. Post-time favorite Varenka, at odds of 9-5, finished third with Javier Castellano in the saddle and returned $2.80.
The field was completed by Belle Laura, Delta’s Kingdom, Crafty’s Dream, Gamblin Train, Princesa Carolina, Choate Bridge, Hungry Kitten and Fortunate Girl.
The Regret Stakes pays homage to the 1915 Kentucky Derby winner – the first filly to win the race. Regret, who was owned by Harry Payne Whitney, was the father C.V. Whitney, Marylou’s deceased husband.
Hard Legacy improved her record to 4-2-0-0 with $164,500 in earnings. Hard Legacy was bred in Kentucky by her owner.
Julien Leparoux, jockey of HARD LEGACY (winner): “She can break a little slow sometimes. Today she broke really well. I left her along and got her in a good rhythm. I got her to relax on the backside and she had enough late to hold them off.”
Norm Casse, trainer of HARD LEGACY (winner): “Churchill Downs is my home, Louisville is my home, to win my first stakes win here is so special. I thought today would be the day. Hard Legacy had been training very well, we had Julien up, it was time to get the first stakes win. Hopefully the first of many.”
Channing Hill, jockey of WINTER SUNSET (runner-up): “She ran an amazing race. This filly seems like she’s getting better and better. Julien may have her number but she came flying home and is living up to what we thought she’d be. I think that a longer distance is going to help her out even more. Hopefully she just keeps getting bigger and better.”