Sweet Talker burst to the lead as the field straightened for home and held off the late charge of Rich in Spirit to win the $112,400 Edgwood Stakes by three-quarters of a length at Churchill Downs Friday.
The Edgewood, for 3-year-old fillies, was the first stakes race run on the card that will feature the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).
Brett's Favrette and Pommes Frites took the lead in the 1 1/6-mile turf race from the start, with Sweet Talker and Brice Blanc sitting comfortably behind them in third. As the field came out of the turn, Sweet Talker was on the rail and taking command. She opened up down the lane, as Rich in Spirit and Mike Smith easily passed the rest of the field on the outside but could not catch the winner.
"The leaders kind of went on with it while I saved ground along the hedge," Blanc said. "My filly has a nice turn of foot and turning for home we got in there before they closed the door on me. She just ran away from them from there."
Sweet Talker had finished third in the Appalachian Stakes at Keeneland in her last start and, in her only other turf appearance, won the Caressing Handicap at Churchill last fall. The 3-year-old Stormin Fever
filly has now won four of nine starts for owner Eliah and Lisa Kahn and trainer Ken McPeek.
"We tried her on the main track a few times, but I think she's just so much better on turf," said McPeek. "That's where she'll stay. She's all class, and she showed that today."
The victory, worth $69,688, increased Sweet Talker's career earnings to $192,728.
Produced from the Stalwart mare Another Vegetarian, Sweet Talker was bred in Kentucky by Brereton Jones, owner of Airdrie Stud near Midway, Ky., and the former governor of Kentucky. She was a $50,000 Fasig-Tipton purchase in November 2002.
Sweet Talker ran the race in 1:41.94 after fractions of :23.08, :47.63, 1:11.78, and 1:35.67.
Sweet Talker paid $16.80, $7 and $5.60 while Rich in Spirit returned $5.40 and $4.20. Insan Male, ridden by Patrick Valenzuela, finished third, 2 3/4 lengths behind the winner, and paid $8.60.
Cape Hope, the 9-5 favorite ridden by Jerry Bailey, was prominently placed throughout but failed to fire in the final furlong and finished fourth.
Dynamite Lass, Pommes Frites, Brett's Favrette and Defensa trailed.