Lady Carlock, charging from off the pace for jockey Jermaine Bridgmohan, overtook Mushka in the final strides to record her first stakes victory by a head in the $125,000 Suwannee River (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) on the Gulfstream Park turf Feb. 1.
The 13-1 winner had to withstand an objection from jockey Julien Leparoux, riding fourth-place finisher Long Approach, for interference in the stretch run, before the race was declared official.
Carl Nafzger, who trains Lady Carlock for owner/breeder Bentley Smith, gained his first win of the Gulfstream meet. The 5-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Chester House had not been out since a runner-up finish in an optional claiming allowance race on the Churchill Downs lawn Nov. 21.
Lady Carlock fell back to last for the first six furlongs as Tejida reluctantly had the early lead in the 1 1/18-mile test of older fillies and mares. Flibberjibit, from the far outside, soon took over under Eddie Castro after a slow opening quarter-mile of :24.63 and continued to set tepid fractions of :49.41 and 1:12.50 before giving way in the lane.
The field bunched up badly in the lane, opening things up in the middle of the track for Mushka and jockey Kent Desormeaux, who staked a narrow lead mid-stretch and came up just short in th final dash for the wire. Lady Carlock, on the far outside and rallying in upper stretch, angled in slightly under right-handed urging from Bridgmohan, but fought on to get up in time. The stalker Drop a Line held third with Ramon Dominguez aboard, 1 1/4 lengths behind. The final time was 1:47.65 on firm going.
“It was a slow pace, but my horse was still able to make her run," Bridgmohan said.
Addressing the objection, the jockey noted, "I think (Mushka) came out more than I came in. I didn’t think it was my fault and I was glad they left her up. She ran a fantastic race. She’s a one-run filly, so I just tried not to take anything away from her.”
Callwood Dancer, the 19-10 favorite racing near the rear of the eight-horse field for Javier Castellano, had little response in the homestretch and finished fifth.
Lady Carlock, a distant third in the Arlington Matron Handicap (gr. III) on Polytrack last spring, picked up her fourth lifetime win in 19 starts. The winner's purse of $75,000 increased her earnings to $273,527. The bay mare is out of Incha, by Nashwan. The victory ended a six-race losing streak for Lady Carlock, whose last victory came in an allowance race on the Keeneland turf April 11.
“She’s an easy filly to train," Nafzger said. "You just point her in the right direction and she does what you ask. She’s been graded stakes-placed before, but this is her first stakes win and it’s graded. I was concerned that the pace might not be fast enough up front, but she got there. She’s good and sound and will go on and race this year.”
The winner paid $29.60, $13.80 and $8. Mushka, a grade II winner as a 2-year-old in November 2007 who has just one victory since for trainer Bill Mott, returned $9 and $7.20. Drop a Line wasworth $11 to show in her graded stakes debut for trainer H, Graham Motion.
Long Approach was a head back in fourth, followed by Callwood Dancer, Tejida, a much-troubled Waquoit's Love and Flibberjibit. Ballymore Lady and The Niagara Queen scratched.