The Thoroughbred Corporation's Spain dueled though the stretch with Ruby Surprise before edging away to a one-length victory in the $250,000 Turfway Breeders' Cup (gr. III) Saturday at Turfway Park.
The D. Wayne Lukas-trained Spain inherited the lead on the backstretch after pacesetter Schmoopy broke down. Ruby Surprise moved up to challenge and was a 1/2 length behind after six furlongs run in 1:12.43. The two continued on with Spain, under Pat Day, remaining a 1/2 length in front after a mile in 1:38.27. Spain, the lone 3-year-old in the field, pulled away to the wire, running the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.85 over a fast track.
"I was on the outside of (Schmoopy) when she broke down," said Day. "Mary (Doser) did a good job of holding her up. I was afraid she was going to fall in front of me. At that point, I inherited the lead."
Ruby Surprise finished 2 1/2 lengths ahead of third-place Undermine. Tap to Music came home fourth, followed by Sweeping Story, My Alibi, Gold Streamer, and Silent Eskimo.
"I wasn't disappointed with the horse; I was disappointed with the track," said Joe Orseno, trainer of Tap to Music. "We came in and trained on a real deep track, and now it's hard as a rock."
Spain (Thunder Gulch -- Drina, by Regal and Royal) has won three of four starts since returning from a brief freshening following a sixth-place finish in the Dogwood Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs. After winning an allowance race at Belmont Park in July, she won the Monmouth Oaks (gr. II) before finishing third in the Alabama (gr. I).
Spain returned $6.60, $3.40, and $3. Ruby Surprise paid $4.60 and $3.40. Undermine paid $5. The winning exacta combination was worth $36.60. (Chart, Equibase