Bill Cubbedge's Molly Morgan shot through an opening along the rail on the final turn and drew away to an easy upset victory in the $216,200 Fleur de Lis Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs the evening of June 14 (VIDEO).
Molly Morgan, 10-1 in a field of six fillies and mares, had shown improving form of late with a solid second-place finish behind On Fire Baby in the grade II La Troienne Stakes at Churchill May 2. She turned the tables on that foe, who finished fifth as the 13-10 pick in the Fleur de Lis after challenging for about seven furlongs in the 1 1/8-mile event.
Ridden again by Corey Lanerie, Molly Morgan sat last along the inside as Ondine set soft fractions of :23.94 for the opening-quarter mile, :48.07 for the half-mile, and 1:12.74 for six furlongs on a fast track while being stalked by On Fire Baby and even wider, Fiftyshadesofhay. But as the field approached the top of the stretch, Molly Morgan found an opening along the inside and quickly put two lengths between herself and the others.
Molly Morgan continued to extend her advantage after a mile in 1:37.49 and finished four lengths ahead of Flashy American, who rallied from fifth on the far outside to capture second. Fiftyshadesofhay finished third after flattening out in the lane; she was followed by Frivolous, On Fire Baby, and Ondine.
Molly Morgan, trained by Dale Romans, completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.11 for the fifth win of her career in 21 starts. The 5-year-old mare by Ghostzapper out of the Distorted Humor mare Capitulation was bred in Kentucky by Cubbedge, Mike Lauffer, and Greg McDonald.
"They were all really tough horses in the race," Cubbedge told HRTV after the race. "I told Corey (Lanerie), 'It's going to be a tough race, but you're having a good meet, and if the cards fall right, maybe she'll win.' I wasn't expecting it."
Molly Morgan paid $23.40, $7.80, and $3.60 across the board. Flashy American paid $4.80 and $3, while Fiftyshadesofhay returned $2.80. The $2 exacta paid $81.20 and the $2 trifecta $283.60.