Under jockey Pat Day, Bordelaise defeated Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) winner Spain by a nose in the $271,000 Falls City Handicap (gr. III) Thursday at Churchill Downs.
Bordelaise raced just off the early pace set by Atelier, the second choice in the wagering at 7-5, before taking a short lead prior to running six furlongs in 1:13.73. Spain, fourth through the early going, rallied to take a half-length lead in the stretch before being overtaken by the winner in the final jump.
"Spain was definitely the horse to beat," said Day. "She went by me at the head of the stretch and I got into my mare with the left hand. It took her awhile -- and at first she didn't respond -- but when she did, she was aggressive. When she was finally in her momentum she got the job done."
Bordelaise completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.01 on a fast track. On a Soapbox finished third, 8 1/2 lengths behind Spain. Gandria finished fourth, a neck behind On a Soapbox. Atelier came home last, another 12 1/2 lengths back.
The win was the first American graded stakes win for Bordelaise, a 5-year-old Argentine-bred mare. In her native country, she won the Gran Premio Criadores (Arg-I) and three other group races while trained by Carlos Etchechoury. Bordelaise is owned by Haras Santa Maria de Araras and is currently trained by Bill Mott. Prior to the Falls City, she was trained for her American races -- including a win in the Run for the Roses Handicap -- by Ron McAnally. She earned $168,020 for the win, her seventh in 21 career races. Bordelaise (Espacial--Maconnaisse, by Keats) was bred by Haras Ojo de Agua.
Bordelaise paid $9 and $3.40. Spain was worth $2.60 to place and completed a $25 exacta. Due to the five-horse field, there was no show wagering. (Chart, Equibase