Fantasy Stakes (gr. II) winner Mystic Lady set the pace and held off the late charge of Sir Brian's Sword to win the $100,000 Jersey Derby on Sunday at Monmouth Park. The 3-year-old daughter of Thunder Gulch, racing against males for the first time, completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.31 on a fast main track.
The race was originally scheduled for the turf course, but was switched to main track. As a result of the surface switch, the race will lose its grade III status, pending review by the American Graded Stakes Committee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.
Lee Lewis' Mystic Lady became the second filly to win the Jersey Derby, joining 1998 winner Who Did It and Run.
Mystic Lady was pressed by Mongoose early on while setting fractions of :46.53 and 1:10.42 under jockey Filiberto Leon. Mystic Lady kicked clear as Mongoose tired and rebuffed Sir Brian's Sword in deep stretch to earn the neck-length victory.
"It wasn't the plan to go to the lead, but she broke out of there running and I didn't want to fight her," said Leon. "I knew we were going pretty quick. I didn't want to go head-and-head, but she was full of run. She had enough to hold on."
What's Your Wish finished third, followed by Mongoose, Punkin Head, and Moomtazz. Navesink, Woddy Haze, and Potaro were scratched.
As the 3-2 favorite, Mystic Lady returned $5, $2.80, and $2.40. Sir Brian's Sword paid $3.40 and $2.80. What's Your Wish was worth $3 to show. The winning exacta combination paid $13.80.
After winning the Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park in April, Mystic Lady finished seventh in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I). The win was the third stakes win of the year for the Mark Hennig trainee, who also won the Herecomesthebride Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park in January. She earned $60,000 for the win, her sixth in 10 career races. (Chart, Equibase