Surprising Susan's Angel collared favored Angela's Love in upper stretch and refused to buckle when challenged late by Mayo On the Side to give trainer D. Wayne Lukas victory in the $175,000 Turfway Park Breeders' Cup (gr. III) for fillies and mares Saturday.
Overmatched in the Alabama (gr. I) at Saratoga in her last start Aug. 21 when she was a tiring sixth, the 3-year-old daughter of Capetown
won her first graded stakes race over five rivals.
"We're thrilled," Lukas said. "Today she took a step forward."
Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Susan's Angel turned the pressure up on 9-5 choice Angela's Love on the far turn and edged away for a three-quarter of a length win over Mayo On the Side and Robby Albarado. Angela's Love was third. The time was 1:44 1/5 for the 1 11/6-mile event.
Bejarano kept Susan's Angel close to the pace while racing on the outside of Angela's Love and Mark Guidry, who clicked off even fractions of :23 2/5, :46 4/5 and 1:11 3/5. Susan's Angel pressured the front runner around the turn and edged to the lead in upper stretch. She held sway as Mayo On the Side made solid progress through the lane. Mayo On the Side was in tight after the start and took back to last down the backstretch.
Lukas said he was unsure of Susan's Angel's next start, but indicated he had big plans for her.
"We have Azeri pointed for the Spinster, so we won't look at that," he said. "But if she runs another big race, we might even consider the big dance (the Breeders' Cup Distaff)."
A maiden special weight winner in the mud at Churchill Downs in May, Susan's Angel also captured the Serena's Song at Monmouth July 24 prior to the Alabama for owner Finney Creek Stable. She now has a record of 3-4-1 in 11 starts while earning $108,500 for Saturday's victory. She has won $247,360.
Bred in Kentucky by Captain W. Jakeman & Mrs. K. C. Jakeman, she's from the Copelan mare Caopeaway.
The fourth wagering choice, she paid $14.40, $5.80 and $2.80. Mayo On the Side, who lost for the fourth straight time since upsetting Azeri in the Humana Distaff (gr. I) May 1, returned $4.20 and $2.40. Angela's Love, who won the Gardenia Handicap (gr. III) at Ellis Park in her last start Aug. 7, showed for $2.40. Angela's Love carried 122 pounds, six more than the winner.
Miss Fortunate ran fourth, followed by La Reason and Hippogator.