Favored Rags to Riches, a daughter of A.P Indy owned by Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, jumped from a maiden win in her last start Jan. 7 to grade I victor in little more than a month, overcoming a wide trip to manage it.
Under Garrett Gomez, Rag to Riches charged down the center of the track to overtake Baroness Thatcher in the final strides, winning by three-quarters of a length in a time of 1:37 4/5 for the one-mile test.
Purchased as a yearling at Keeneland in September 2005, Rags to Riches looks to have a big future for trainer Todd Pletcher. The chestnut filly was saddled by Michael McCarthy Saturday as Pletcher completed a 45-day suspension.
Gomez, noted for his stretch-running style, gained his tenth stakes victory of the meet among a season-leading 48 wins, including three on Saturday.
“In the middle of the turn, she was running very comfortable,” Gomez said. “I was going twice as fast as anything else, but it looked like I was hardly making a run because I was so wide. She overcame a lot today and she’s not very seasoned. I have high hopes for her.”
It was only the third career start for Rags to Riches, a half-sister to 2006 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Jazil who had broken her maiden by six lengths with Gomez aboard. Out of Better Than Honour, by Deputy Minister, Rags to Riches earned $150,000 Saturday to push her total $180,100.
Baroness Thatcher, who had set all the pace -- :23 3/5, :47 2/5 and 1:11 4/5 -- with Victor Espinoza in the saddle, finished two lengths ahead of Runway Rosie and jockey Richard Migliore in third.
Rags to Riches, meanwhile, broke outward from her far outside post, was five wide on the clubhouse turn, started her move while wide on the final turn and finished five-wide in the lane.
A narrow 5-2 choice in the field of eight, she paid $7.40, $4.80 and $3.40. An unlucky Baroness Thatcher returned $9.60 and $6.80, while the show price on Runway Rosie was $6.
Then came Cash Included, Swiss Diva, Quick Little Miss, Romance Is Diane and Jump On In. Slew o' Platinum scratched, leaving a field of eight.
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