Ridden by Kent Desormeaux, who has a meet-best 17 wins, Carriage Trail earned her first stakes victory while going off at 9-1. The 5-year-old Giant's Causeway mare is trained by Shug McGaughey.
Carriage Trail completed the 1 1/16 miles on Polytrack in 1:42.51. Say You Will, under Julien Leparoux, rallied three-wide on the final turn to get second, a half-length in front of Indescribable. Meribel was fourth, while even-money favorite Panty Raid, who was making her first start since November, tired in the stretch to finish last.
A Kentucky homebred, Carriage Trail won for the fourth time in 10 lifetime starts. Her last victory was at Keeneland’s 2007 spring meet when she took an allowance event by a length. Most recently, she was sixth in the April 9 Madison Stakes (gr. II).
Breaking from post four, Desormeaux brought Carriage Trail right to the front, posting a modest opening quarter of :25.27. Marquee Delivery was tracking in second, while Panty Raid pressed three-wide.
It stayed that way through four furlongs in :49.04, but as they made their way through the turn Marquee Delivery began to drop back while Indescribable began her three-wide move under Edgar Prado to take over second. Panty Raid was right there as well, but still was 1 ½ lengths in back of the leader at the top of the stretch.
Carriage Trail was not about to relinquish her advantage in that final furlong, as she maintained a clear lead to the wire.
“This filly, I tell you, we started running about the mile pole,” Desormeaux said. “It wasn’t that much of a theft from there; she had to be a racehorse. She put ‘em away and regained the lead. When you see us quickening in the replay at the half-mile pole, she actually was able to get a second breather. When she cornered for home, she just took flight and started reaching for the wire.”
Out of the Seeking the Gold mare Manoa, Carriage Trail banked $77,500 for the score. She paid $21.20, $7.80 and $5.40. The exacta (4-2) returned $138.20, while the $1 trifecta (4-2-3) netted $297.
Todd Pletcher trainee Panty Raid, who won the Spinster (gr. I) at Keeneland last fall, faded badly in the stretch after being in perfect position with a furlong remaining.
“We were laying second and when it came time to run, she ran for about an eighth of a mile and that was it,” said jockey Garrett Gomez. “That’s about all I can say.”