Martin S. Schwartz's Asi Siempre, off the lawn for the first time in her 15-race career, strode away to a convincing victory in the $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster (gr. I) on the all-weather track at Keeneland Sunday.
Ridden by Julien Leparaoux for trainer Patrick Biancone, Asi Siempre was fifth between horses coming off the far turn. She angled five or six wide to challenge as the contenders spread across the track and emerged from the pack to take control approaching the eighth pole. She won going away under slight urging by 2 1/4 lengths over the late closing Soul Search. The runner-up finished a neck in front of Promenade Girl.
"We trained on the Polytrack for a year and she loved it," Biancone said. "She really loved it today. She was bred to run on the dirt."
"My French connection strikes again," said an overjoyed Schwartz afterward. He said no Breeders' Cup decision has been made for Asi Siempre, since he already has Lady of Venice and Gorella as strong candidates on Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs.
Asked if the Distaff on the Churchill main track would be a possibility, Biancone laughed, and looked at Schwartz. "If my man here pays the check to get in, then yes," he said.
The final time for the 1 1/8-mile test for fillies and mares was 1:51 4/5.
"It was a perfect trip," Leparaoux said. "She's been training really well on Polytrack and won easy today."
Favored Happy Ticket dropped out early while the second choice, Spun Sugar, tired in the stretch.
"I just had one of those trips," said jockey Garrett Gomez, who rode Happy Ticket. I was behind two horses (Summerly and Spun Sugar) and thought I was in good position. I was on the inside next to the rail. Shaun (Bridgmohan on Summerly) moved over and I had to check a bit and had no place to run."
Summerly, with Spun Sugar and Happy Ticket in pursuit, set slow fractions of :25, :50 2/5 and 1:116 1/5.
The 4-year-old Asi Siempre was a grade III winner last year on the grass after starting her career in France. The gray daughter of El Prado
--Siempre Asi (Silver Hawk) was coming off a third-place finish in Saratoga's Ballston Spa Handicap (gr. IIT) Aug. 26, 2 1/4 lengths behind My Typhoon.
Asi Siempre, who nearly doubled her earnings to $646,016 with her sixth lifetime win, paid $11, $5.80 and $4.60. Soul Search, ridden by Robby Albarado, returned $17.80 and $7.80. Promenade Girl, Jeremy Rose aboard, was $6 to show.
Sharp Lisa lacked much response in the stretch to finish fourth, followed by Lemons Forever, the 8-5 choice Happy Ticket, Summerly, Spun Sugar and Island Escape.