Repole Stable's Stopchargingmaria, the 9-10 favorite in the six-horse field for the Nov. 30 Demoiselle Stakes (gr. II), came with a sustained run down the Aqueduct Racetrack stretch to win by a neck over Got Lucky.
Pacesetting Penwith was a head back in third in the nine-furlong race for 2-year-old fillies (VIDEO).
Darley Stable's Penwith went to the front in the $400,000 Demoiselle and was tracked to her outside by Stopchargingmaria through slow early fractions of :25.38 and :50.65. Those two opened up on the other fillies down the backstretch with Lexi Morgan, America, Got Lucky, and Mlle. Minuit following. As the field neared the far turn, the leaders were joined by Lexi Morgan and Got Lucky after six furlongs in 1:15.45.
On the turn, Lexi Morgan came with a run on the outside and Got Lucky made progress along the rail. In the stretch, Penwith held tough and hit the eighth pole in 1:39.93, but came off the rail allowing for Got Lucky to get through as Stopchargingmaria continued to cut into the lead. It was a tight finish, but Stopchargingmaria got the advantage while on the outside in 1:52.62.
Stopchargingmaria was ridden by Javier Castellano for trainer Todd Pletcher, who also trains Got Lucky for Hill 'n' Dale Equine Holdings and Philip Steinberg. The win was Castellano's third on the day.
"I was pleased with both of their races," said Pletcher. "It was a big effort by Got Lucky in her second start. The thing I thought (Stopchargingmaria) had going for her is a good foundation and the fact that she has a good mind. She's very ratable. She's not the kind you have to worry about getting too headstrong, but it's a mile and an eighth, and it's a long way for 2-year-old fillies."
Repole Stables, operated by Mike Repole, was well represented in the winner's circle...and they knew how to get there. Repole won last year's Demoiselle with Unlimited Budget.
"It's nice winning this race back-to-back years," Repole said. "To win it with Unlimited Budget and now with Stopchargingmaria; it's fun. She was so close to being a grade I horse. We put her in grade III company last time and she won impressively. She had an advantage today with four races under her belt as opposed to some of them who had run once or twice. I didn't know if she would get this distance, but if she ever was going to win at a mile and an eighth, today was the day."
The winner paid $3.90, $2.50, and $2.10. Got Lucky paid $3.20 and $2.60 and Penwith returned $3.30. The $2 exacta, 6-1, paid $11.40.
"I had a beautiful trip all the way in the race," said Castellano. "Small field, outside post, I controlled the race all the way. I like the way she did it today—she's amazing. Everything I asked, she responded. The question today was two turns, a mile and an eighth, and she handled it so well. She got it done."
There was a reason Stopchargingmaria was the short-odds favorite in the field, being the lone filly with stakes experience. After breaking her maiden at first asking at Saratoga, Stopchargingmaria was second behind Sweet Reason in the seven-furlong Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) and third behind Artemis Agrotera and Sweet Reason in the one-mile Frizette Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park. Prior to her win in the Demoiselle she won the grade III Tempted Stakes Nov. 3 at the Big A by 10 3/4 lengths.
She now has a record of 3-1-1 from five starts and has earned $548,000.
By Tale of the Cat , the Demoiselle winner is the first foal out of the stakes-winning Montbrook mare Exotic Bloom. She was bred in Kentucky by Harvey Clarke and the Seitz's family's Brookdale Farm. Clarke is the breeder of last year's champion 3-year-old male I'll Have Another and Havana , winner of this year's Foxwoods Champagne Stakes (gr. I) and Breeders' Cup Juvenile Stakes (gr. I) runner-up. Clarke, who lives in New Jersey, keeps his mares at Brookdale in Woodford County.
Clarke and Brookdale sold the Demoiselle winner to Woodford Thoroughbreds for $47,000 at last year's Keeneland September yearling sale. Repole Stables went to $220,000 to buy her from Woodford Thoroughbreds, agent, at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s select sale in March.