Intangaroo came roaring down the stretch to overtake Baroness Thatcher and Hystericalady at the wire to win a photo-finish thriller in the $334,800 Humana Distaff (gr. I) (VIDEO) at Churchill Downs May 3. A head and a nose was all that separated the trio in a terrific finish.
The 4-year-old daughter of Orientate , who is owned by Tom Grether Farms, earned her second grade I win of the season after capturing the Santa Monica Handicap (gr. I) at Santa Anita three months ago. All 10 of her prior starts came on synthetic track surfaces.
The 14-1 shot swung wide coming out of the turn under jockey Alonso Quinonez and tracked down her two rivals, accelerating through the finish line of the seven-furlong dirt race in a final clocking of 1:22.03. Baroness Thatcher was second by a head-bob, with Hystericalady shaded for third.
"She ran a great race," said Quinonez. "I was just very patient and I knew I could be with the long stretch. We talked about how the pace scenario was going to be perfect for us. We just let the speed horses go to the front, sit behind them and then make our move turning for home."
Hystericalady, who won last year’s Humana Distaff, definitely had the worst of it this time. She helped set the pace from the rail under jockey Rafael Bejarano through wicked splits of :22.27 and :44.31, getting the narrow lead while running with three other horses in a four-wide speed pack – including Graeme Six, Sugar Swirl and Miss Macy Sue. At the top of the stretch, Hystericalady put distance between her and the others, passing through three-quarters in 1:08.52 with a 1 1/2-length advantage. But Bejarano got his whip tangled with the reins in deep stretch.
"I was in a bad position," said Bejarano. "I had no choice but to use her and go. We were flying and my horse was giving all she had, but the post got us."
Baroness Thatcher made the first move at the leader after Hystericalady disposed of her early company. They were soon joined by Intangaroo on the far outside, who got up in time.
"I saw (Hystericalady) down inside and I focused on her," jockey John Velazquez said of the runner-up's effort. "My filly went after her and we got her. Then out of the corner of my eye I saw this thing flying outside us and she beat us both. But my filly ran great. We did everything but win.”
Intangaroo, who is trained by Gary Sherlock, made a huge move mid-stretch on the far outside and got up just in time for her fourth victory in 11 career starts. She earned $201,351 to swell her lifetime bankroll to $464,231.
Intangaroo, who was bred in Kentucky by Pollock Farms and Taylor Made Farms, paid $30, $12.40 and $6.80. Baroness Thatcher, conditioned by Bill Mott, returned $14.80 and $7.20. The Jerry Hollendorfer trainee Hystericalady paid $3.60.
The Humana Distaff victory was the second this year for Intangaroo, who defeated a field that included Hystericalady in the Feb. 2 Santa Monica. She won that day by a nose over Society Hostess in her stakes debut. Intangaroo was coming off a third-place finish, a half length behind Tiz Elemental, in the Las Flores Handicap (gr. III) April 6.
"She really vindicated her win in the Santa Monica," said Sherlock. "A lot of people thought she lucked out in that race. But she's a great filly and I always felt that way."
Talking about Intangaroo's first dirt start, the trainer added, “She galloped here yesterday as good as a horse can gallop. She just floated over the track.
“She has always been bomb-proof. She really gives it her all and finishes well. The jock rode her perfectly."
Miraculous Miss finished fourth, followed by 2-1 choice Sugar Swirl, Miss Macy Sue, Windyindy and Graeme Six. Change Up scratched.