Martin Cherry's Florida invader Pampered Princess battled back after being passed in the stretch, drawing away near the finish to post an upset the $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster (gr. I) for fillies and mares at Keeneland Sunday.
Ridden by Eddie Castro, the 5-year-old daughter of Indian Charie has ruled in Florida for trainer Martin Wolfson.
"I never thought it would happen," said Cherry of his first grade I win. "To have it happen at such a great venue as Keeneland makes it special. Eddie (Castro) does such a great job on this filly. He's never ridden a bad race on her."
Cherry said he'll consider running his mare in the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) on Oct. 29 at Belmont Park.
Brought north for the 1 1/8-mile Spinster, Pampered Princess didn't get the lead as expected but she was able to track Tamweel through the far turn, taking the lead briefly on the inside as they straightened away for the stretch run. Capeside Lady, ridden by Chris DeCarlo, swept past her in upper stretch, but Pampered Princess, under strong left-handed urging from Castro, responded to the challenge to turn back Capeside Lady in the final stages to win by 1 3/4 lengths. The final time for the nine furlongs on a fast track was 1:53 4/5.
"Even though she had a lot of pressure on her today, she handled it very well," said Castro, her regular rider. "She is a very good filly and always gives me everything she has."
Pleasant Home, ridden by Cornelio Velasquez, circled the field and made a bold move down the lane to nip Capseside Lady by a neck for second. The stalking Bending Strings finished an even fourth, another head behind.
Shug McGaughey, the trainer of Pleasant Home, said he thought a run in the Breeders' Cup Distaff is a "definite possibility."
"I thought she got a lot out of the race today," he said. "She gave us the effort that we needed to see. When my filly ran at Aqueduct in a one-turn mile she won by five, so I think she would like the distance and one turn of the Belmont track."
Tamweel, ridden by Jerry Bailey, got away with early fractions of :24 and :49, but was unable to hold off the challengers on the final turn and dropped back rapidly. Isola Piu Bella, the 2-1 favorite in the field of 11, was not a factor for John Velazquez in her first start since a seventh-place finish in the Delaware Handicap (gr. II) July 17.
Making her first appearance at Keeneland, Pampered Princess won for the 13th time in 31 lifetime starts and increased her earnings to $718,385. She was coming off a 6 1/2-length win in the Draw In at Calder Sept. 10, where she had won three of her past four starts.
Dr. and Mrs. R. Herman Playforth bred Pampered Princess in Kentucky. She's out of the Crafty Prospector
mare Crafty Ember.
She paid $17.80, $8 and $5.40.
Pleasant Home, coming off a second-place showing in the Ballerina (gr. I) in the mud at Saratoga, returned $7 and $5 and completed a $115.40 exacta.
Capeside Lady was $7.40 to show for a $1,304.60 trifecta.
After Bending Strings, the order of finish was Miss Fortunate, Isola Piu Bella, Winning Season, Santa Candida, Halory Leigh, Tamweel, and Go Girlfriend.