St George Farm's homebred Closing Range lulled her better-fancied rivals
Havant and Ciao Bella to sleep early in Friday's Grade 3, $100,000
Prevoyante Handicap, and by the time the favorites woke up to the danger,
the 19-1 longshot had already absconded with Calder's closing day co-feature.
Under a masterful front-running ride by Elvis Trujillo, the Phil Oliver
sophomore had no difficulty in her first attempt at the 1 1/2-mile distance.
Closing Range had engineered a similar theft two starts back in the August 26 Twin Lights over 1 1/8 miles at Monmouth, where she just lasted in a photo-finish. The daughter of After Market was coming off her worst career effort, a non-threatening eighth in a division of the Grade 3 Valley View at Keeneland October 19. That was thoroughly uncharacteristic for the lightly-raced filly, who had previously won three of four starts and placed second in the other.On Friday, Closing Range rebounded in style by taking advantage of a soft pace scenario. Havant, the 4-5 favorite, broke slowly but rushed up to track Closing Range on the inside. Stalking closely on the outside was 3-2 second choice Ciao Bella. The market leaders were content to let Closing Range serve as their pacemaker through leisurely fractions of :24 2/5, :49 3/5, 1:15 and 1:39 3/5 on the firm turf.
Although Ciao Bella and Havant were gearing up to challenge turning into the stretch, it was too late. Closing Range had already ratcheted up the tempo to reach the 1 1/4-mile split in 2:03 3/5, and now she kept up her momentum to kick clear of her pursuers. With a final quarter shading :23 4/5, Closing Range widened her advantage to 2 3/4 lengths and stopped the teletimer in 2:27 2/5.
Ciao Bella crossed the wire 1 1/4 lengths to the good of Havant, who barely salvaged third by a head from the 63-1 longshot Peekablue Sue. Centring and Clarinet were never in the hunt, while Thislilsoulofmine and the main-track-only My Pal Chrisy were withdrawn.
Closing Range fueled payouts of $41.80, $7.80 and $2.60, and her first graded victory improved her line to 6-4-1-0, $149,898. Unraced at two, the dark bay conquered an off-the-turf maiden at Indiana Downs in her May 29 debut. Closing Range finished second in an entry-level turf allowance at Churchill Downs on June 30 before winning her next two, a July 27 allowance on the Ellis Park turf and the Twin Lights.
The Kentucky-bred was offered as a Keeneland September yearling, but RNA'd for $49,000. Out of the Group 1-placed Caerleon mare Subeen, Closing Range is a half-sister to Grade 3 queen Stupendous Miss, the dam of current Group 2 Zabeel Mile winner Do It All and English stakes-placed Tales of Grimm.
Closing Range hails from the family of Grade 1 turf star Storm Trooper; multiple Group 3 victress Marillette; current sophomore Black Arrow, a multiple stakes hero and Group 3-placed performer in Germany; Canadian Hall of Famer Northernette; and champion and influential sire Storm Bird.