Favored Savorthetime surged past the pacesetting Cologny at the sixteenth pole and pulled away for a 2 1/2-length victory in the $100,000 First Lady Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
The 6-year-old Kentucky-bred mare picked up her first graded stakes victory. John Velazquez rode the chestnut daughter of Gilded Time
for trainer Steve Asmussen and owners Brenda and Philip Robertson.
Breaking from the inside post in the field of seven, Savorthetime tracked the lone leader Cologny, who was ridden by Robby Albarado, from the inside, and Feline Story. Savorthetime moved into contention at the top of the lane and took care of the leader convincingly while angling to her outside. She finished the six furlongs in 1:09 1/5 on a fast track.
"This was an easy trip," Velazquez said. "Stalk the speed and chirp at her when it was time. Totally a piece of cake."
Cologny set a solid pace of :22 1/5 for the opening quarter mile and :44 4/5 for the half, while opening up a 2 1/2-length lead on Feline Story. They completed five furlongs in :56 3/5 as Savorthetime moved into second place and took aim at the leader.
Ebony Breeze, the 5-2 second favorite with Jerry Bailey aboard, came on for third after getting a slow start, 6 1/4 lengths behind Savorthetime. Feline Story finished another length behind in fourth.
Winning for the 10th time in 24 career starts, Savorthetime came into the First Lady off an impressive 2 1/2-length win over Hippogator in the Dream Supreme Handicap at Churchill Downs Nov. 26. The $60,000 winning purse pushed her career earnings to $409,028.
Robertson credited Asmussen for getting the mare her first win in a graded stakes.
"She's been trying for a while to get it, but we finally got it done," he said. "As long as she's doing well we're going to keep on racing her. We've got a couple more prospects in the barn, but none as good as she is."
Savorthetime will return to Fair Grounds before a decision is made on her next assignment.
She won for the fourth time in seven starts since Asmussen took over training duties from Albert Stall Jr. last spring, paying $5.40, $3 and $2.20 as the 8-5 choice. Cologny returned $3.40 and $2.40, completing a $21 exacta. Ebony Breeze was $2.20 to show.
Expect an Angel, Una Mirim and Pop Princess rounded out the finish.