Much Obliged Wins First Thousand Guineas

Much Obliged Wins First Thousand Guineas
Photo: Four-Footed Fotos
Much Obliged under Chris Emigh takes the inaugural running of the American One Thousand Guineas.

Much Obliged surged past Scolara in the final strides to post a half-length win in the inaugural running of the $200,000 American One Thousand Guineas on the Arlington Park grass May 24.

Ridden smartly by the patient Chris Emigh, the Pin Oak Stable homebred gained her first stakes win for trainer Malcolm Pierce. Much Obliged was sent off as the narrow 5-2 choice over the runner-up in the one-mile event, which carries the same conditions as the popular race for 3-year-old fillies in Europe.

“Mr. Pierce told me she’s really easy to ride and to let her run her race. Come around when you are ready to go and she’ll accelerate for you,” said Emigh, who was aboard the 3-year-old filly for the first time. “I felt pretty confident. When she turned for home, it was like she just broke the gate. She accelerated and I was just following Rene (jockey Douglas on Scolara). I was pretty positive and she just ran right by them pretty easily, actually.”

Much Obliged was bumped at the start and allowed to settle near the rear of the 10-horse field while well off the rail. Jolie Visage set a tepid clip of :24.67, :49.68 and 1:15.03 while getting pressure from Dreaming of Liz before fading. Meanwhile, Much Obliged launched her winning bid at the top of the stretch to overtake Scolara and Rene Douglas, who got the lead from Dreaming of Liz mid-stretch.

“Turning for home I was so happy,” said Douglas. “I had a lot of horse left and I was in great position, but then the other horse came along side me so today I just got beat by the other horse.”

Seemingly closed from last to get the show spot under James Graham, 1 1/4 lengths behind Scolara. The winning time was 1:37.96 on firm going.

Much Obliged is a daughter of Kingmambo--Danka, by Strawberry Road. She was coming off a sixth-place finish in the one-mile Appalachian Stakes at Keeneland April 16. The bay filly had back-to-back wins prior to that and has now won three of seven starts in her career. She earned $114,000 for the victory and has now banked $178,234.

“This filly showed us she was a nice filly down this winter in New Orleans,” Pierce said. “I’m just glad now she’s a stakes winner.”

The winner paid $7.20, $3.80 and $2.80, topping a $2 exacta worth $23 with Solara, who returned $3.60 and $2.60. Seemingly was $3.80 to show. Elle Tish Slew finished fourth while Dreaming of Liz, making her turf debut for Wayne Catalano, faded to sixth.

(Chart, Equibase)

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