She’s gone head-to-head with the best fillies of her generation, and Baroness Thatcher may get her turn to reign in the $300,000 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland Oct. 6.
She doesn’t carry the high weight and shortens up to six furlongs for the first time in 12 career starts for trainer Patrick Biancone. Those conditions may help her break a string of performances that have just not been quite good enough.
The 3-year-old daughter of Johannesburg brought Saratoga racegoers to their feet Aug. 26 in the Ballerina Stakes (gr. I). She charged down to the wire in front after stumbling at the start, only to get nipped by a nose by determined closer Maryfield. It was the closest she’d come to a victory for Zayat Stables in more than seven months, since her win in the Jan. 1 Saint Ysabel Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita.
Baroness Thatcher broke her maiden over the Polytrack at Keeneland last fall before embarking on a campaign that would see her face Rags to Riches, Panty Raid, Dream Rush, and Boca Grande in grade I races at Santa Anita, Pimlico, Hollywood Park, and Saratoga. Close to the pace when on her game, she’ll need a patient ride from Julien Leparoux in order to conserve enough energy to hold off the rest of the field in the final furlongs.
An intriguing challenger and carrying 120 pounds in the field is Chicago Handicap (gr. III) winner Lady Belsara, who has only finished out of the money once in seven career starts for At the Moment Stables. With all of those starts coming over Polytrack, it’s clear the 4-year-old daughter of Boundary can handle the surface – but can she handle the weight? Her four victories have come under 118 pounds or less, and she’ll spot two pounds to all except the Eddie Kenneally-trained Mary Delaney, who carries the high weight of 122 pounds.
Mary Delaney is two-for-two at Keeneland, owning an allowance win and a victory in the April 11 Vinery Madison (gr. II) over the Lexington oval. She comes off a fifth-place finish in the Sept. 15 Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes after finishing sixth by more than 30 lengths in the Vagrancy Handicap (gr. II) behind Indian Flare and Oprah Winney June 17. Over last winter and this spring, however, the 4-year-old Hennessy filly raced to four consecutive victories, including two stakes and the wire-to-wire Madison score.
Costume Designer, Sugar Swirl, Bluesbdancing, Wild Gams, Time's Mistress, Hot Storm, and Rich Fantasy round out the field.
Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (gr. III, Race 5, 3:35 p.m.), 6 furlongs, 3-year-olds & up (Polytrack)
PP, Horse, Weight, Jockey
1.Baroness Thatcher, 118, Julien Leparoux
2. Costume Designer, 118, Corey Lanerie
3. Sugar Swirl, 118, Rafael Bejarano
4. Lady Belsara, 120, E. T. Baird
5. Bluesbdancing, 118 Rene Douglas
6. Wild Gams, 118, Ramon Dominguez
7. Time's Mistress, 118, Miguel Mena
8. Hot Storm, 118, Jamie Theriot
9. Mary Delaney, 122, John Velazquez
10. Rich Fantasy, 118, Robby Albarado