Kelly Colliver's Dream Empress took over at the top of the lane and powered to a dominating 4 1/4-length score in the $500,000 Darley Alcibiades (gr. I) (VIDEO) Oct. 3 on the Keeneland Polytrack. The 2-year-old Bernstein filly earning her first graded stakes win while notching a berth in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) later this month at Santa Anita.
Ridden patiently by Robby Albarado, Dream Empress saved ground for a half-mile, then angled out for her winning moving while rounding the far turn. The Ken McPeek trainee caught pacesetter Be Smart after straightening away and drew clear under steady urging. The final time for 1 1/16 miles on the main track was 1:43.82.
Be Smart, who broke her maiden at odds of 49-1 Aug. 28 at Saratoga, settled for second under Garrett Gomez. The D. Wayne Lukas trainee was 3 1/4 lengths ahead of third-place Devotee. Bon Jovi Girl was fourth in a field of seven.
Mani Bhavan, who went off as the betting favorite, sprinted to an early lead and posted a :23.19 opening quarter under Alan Garcia. But Be Smart was right on her tail and took over just before the half-mile-pole. She continued to lead through three-quarters in 1:10.88, with Mani Bhavan and Devotee giving chase.
Dream Empress, fourth after six furlongs, had a clear path as she launched her bid for the lead.
“She had an abundant amount of speed in the race,” Albarado said. “I just bided my time. Kenny gave me basic instructions. She got in front late in the race and kind of put her ears up.
“She’s very classy. Kenny’s done a great job; his team has done a phenomenal job, and I was just a passenger.”
Dream Empress, who was bred in Kentucky by Hopewell Investments, Glencrest Farm and Bryan Cross, was purchased by McPeek for Livin the Dream Racing partnership for $60,000 at the Keeneland 2007 September yearling sale. She is out of the Nijinsky II mare Chinese Empress. The bay filly entered the race off a nose victory Aug 22 at Saratoga, where she broke her maiden at second asking.
“She was really impressive,” said McPeek. “We expected her to run well, hoping for third or better. We didn’t know how she’d handle the Polytrack. She’s worked good over it. She’s all class, lovely filly.”
The winner, sent off as the second choice, paid $6.80, $3.40 and $2.80. The exacta (6-1) returned $29.20, while the trifecta (6-1-2) was worth $159.20.
Amanwella was fifth, followed by August Rush and Mani Bhavan, who tired to finish last after winning the grade I Spinaway Aug. 31 at Saratoga.