Ema Bovary, going past 6 1/2 furlongs for the first time since arriving in the United States from her native Chile, won the seven-furlong Vinery Madison Stakes at Keeneland Wednesday.
The 5-year-old Edgy Diplomat mare had to withstand an objection from Richard Migliore, the rider of second-place Harmony Lodge, to get her ninth win in a row in this country after finishing seventh in her U.S. debut in February of 2003.
The Northern California-based Ema Bovary prevailed by 2 1/4 lengths over Harmony Lodge, who finished by three-quarters of a length ahead of Yell.
Under Roberto Gonzalez, Ema Bovary sat in fourth down the backside while racing five wide as Harmony Lodge and Lady Tak battled on the front end. Buffythecenterfold was third during the early going.
Favored Lady Tak, ridden by Shane Sellers, took the lead as the field entered the turn for home, but she had nothing left down the lane, finishing last in the six-horse field. She was making her first start since last year's Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I).
Lady Tak led through fractions of :22.14 for the quarter and :44.35 for the half.
Ema Bovary came wide and had plenty of run as the six-furlong split was 1:09.73. Harmony Lodge was on the rail when Ema Bovery came in, but the stewards ruled she was clear at the time. She ran the seven furlongs in 1:23.41.
"Sometimes races just go the way you see them, and today was one of those races," Gonzalez said. "I thought there would be a speed duel and there was. She's a push button horse to ride. I really didn't want to be four wide but Buffythecenterfold was in the middle of the track."
The richest victory of her career was worth $108,500 to the winning connections. It pushed her career bankroll to $406,442 with 12 wins in 17 lifetime starts.
Ema Bovary is owned by Richard Beal and Lana Ramsey and trained by Larry Ross. She was bred in Chile by Haras San Patricio. She paid $8.20, $3.80 and $3.20, while Harmony Lodge returned $3.40 and $2.80. Yell paid $3.20.
"What a facility for horses," Ross said of Keeneland. "They must be in heaven here. This filly doesn't mind traveling. It gives her something to do. She keeps improving."