Under a determined ride by Rafael Bejarano, Ginger Punch won her third consecutive graded stakes contest, this one earning her a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic (gr. I) Oct. 24 at Santa Anita. The 5-year-old daughter of Awesome Again won the event in 2007 en route to being named champion older mare.
The victory, which seemed in doubt at the quarter-pole, was Ginger Punch’s seventh career graded stakes and her fifth grade I triumph. She won the Go For Wand in 2007 by six lengths.
Copper State finished second, 1 3/4 lengths in front of Indescribable. Moon Catcher was fourth.
A Florida homebred of Frank Stronach’s Stronach Stables, Ginger Punch is trained by Bobby Frankel. The final time for nine furlongs on a track labeled ‘fast,’ was 1:53.43. It was the slowest time in 55 runnings event.
“She is a champion,” Frankel said. “I was a little worried about finding a place to run. They all ganged up on her. They were looking for her.
“We’ll probably look at the Beldame (gr. I, Sept. 27 at Belmont) next.”
Ginger Punch, who entered off a 7 3/4-length romp in the June 14 Ogden Phipps Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont, was third through the backstretch while racing near the rail. Moon Catcher set the pace, posting pedestrian fractions of :24.04, :49.01 and 1:14.04 under Edgar Prado. Copper State tracked in second.
As they came out of the final turn Copper State and Shaun Bridgmohan took over from Moon Catcher. Ginger Punch was angled toward the outside but found no room, as Over Under blocked her path. Bejarano steered her back to the inside, but had to split the narrow gap between Moon Catcher and Copper State. Once Ginger Punch forced her way through near the furlong-marker, it was clear sailing.
"I was in perfect position but when I came to the three-eighths pole, I saw that (Over Under) was completely dead before coming to the turn. So, I tried to look for a spot on the outside,” Bejarano explained. “Then I tried to hold her a little bit and come in through the inside. My filly showed me a big kick because she was a little mad, you know?
“When I saw the (Copper State) in the stretch coming out and still running I tried to come in and get clear.”
Out of the Bold Revenue mare Nappelon, Ginger Punch has produced a record of 11-5-2 from 19 starts. She has earned $2,705,603.
The 1-5 favorite paid $2.40, $2.30 and $2.10. The exacta (1-5) returned $13.60, while the trifecta (1-5-3) netted $51.50.
Over Under finished fifth, followed by Runway Rosie. Inside Passage and Spring Waltz were scratched.