Going off at odds of 5-2, Sharp Susan broke on top, opened up a comfortable lead as the field of eight hit the top of the stretch, and then gamely held off a pair of rivals to win the 1 1/8-mile test on the turf. It was the second graded stakes victory for the daughter of Touch Gold, who had lost three straight since going gate-to-wire in the Herecomesthebride Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park in March. Overall, it was her fourth win in 11 lifetime efforts.
Sharp Susan paid $7.30 for WinStar Farm and IEAH Stables, who purchased the dark bay filly for $340,000 at the September 2005 Keeneland yearling sale. She was bred in Kentucky by WinStar.
Desormeaux, who came into the day in second place for wins at the meet, guided Sharp Susan through a comfortable :23.95 opening quarter and continued to lead by a length-and-a-half after a :47.42 half-mile. As they straightened out for home, New Edition, who had been saving ground the whole way, came to challenge three-wide, while betting favorite Lady Attack appeared to be revving up for a big run in the middle of the racetrack. But after more determined urging by Desormeaux, Sharp Susan found more and crossed the wire one-and-a-half lengths in front.
“I was ecstatic about the first quarter, because I think she is the kind of filly that, if she gets away, she is going to throw a :21 and change, and I would rather do that the last quarter than the first,” said Desormeaux. “Billy does a great job with his horses. He is confident in the paddock, so it allows me to be confident onboard. I get that great feeling from him, and I try to pass it through the reins to the horse. It was a great effort today.”
New Edition gamely held for second, while Lady Attack, who flattened out in mid-stretch, took third. Christmas Kid finished fourth. The exacta (7-5) paid $53.50, while the trifecta (7-5-4) earned $166. The final time was 1:46.69.
It was the meet-leading 14th win for Mott. “We took the blinkers off two races ago, and she settled better. I’ve got to give Kent a lot of credit. He’s got a good set of hands, and she rated well for him. As I said before, I think he understands pace. We’ll sit down and have a look at what we might want to do.
“There is the Garden City (Grade 1, Belmont Park, Sept. 8) and the Queen Elizabeth at Keeneland (Grade 1, Oct. 13).”