Interference in deep stretch cost Juddmonte Farms a chance to win their own race, as their English homebred Proviso crossed the wire first in the $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster (gr. I) (VIDEO) but was disqualified for veering out sharply inside the sixteenth-pole. The disqualification gave the victory to Brushwood Stable’s Mushka, who was second by 2 1/4 lengths, but likely would have gone by Proviso had her path not been impeded.
A stewards inquiry and an objection by Mushka jockey Kent Desormeaux were lodged immediately after the race, and after a few minutes of looking at replays, Mushka was placed first in the Oct. 11 feature at Keeneland. Proviso, a Bobby Frankel trainee making her U.S. debut, was placed second.
The win by Mushka, a 4-year-old Empire Maker filly, gave her an automatic berth to the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic (gr. I) Nov. 6 at Santa Anita. It was the second consecutive graded stakes win for the dark bay filly, who scored the Glen Falls Handicap (gr. IIIT) Sept. 7 at Saratoga. Bill Mott is the trainer.
Proviso raced near the back of the field of 11 in the nine-furlong Spinster and made her winning move while splitting horses on the final turn. She caught Dawn After Dawn at the top of the stretch and seemed to be headed towards a win. But after Rajiv Maragh urged the filly nearing the sixteenth-pole, she ducked out violently to the right and slowed the momentum of Mushka, who had come from next-to-last at the three-eights-pole and was full of run from the middle of the racetrack.
The final time over Poltrack was 1:49.01. Teamgeist was third.
“I thought the last sixteenth of a mile, the leader had idled on the lead and she was stopping," Desormeaux said. "At that point, she was making a right-hand turn. With the momentum change that was being made by her gawking on the lead, I know I would have definitely caught her. But when she made me stop as well, not to run over her, she made me lose my momentum and that cost me from beating her.”
Maragh had a different view.
“My horse ran huge today and she was definitely the best," he said. "I made the lead with her and then she stopped focusing, so I tapped her and when I did she just bolted out. But still that other horse was never going to pass me. I’m disappointed, of course, but that’s the call and there’s nothing you can do."
Be Fair was the pacesetter, taking the field around in fractions of :23.85, :46.96, and 1:11.12 before giving way at the top of the lane.
Mushka, who is out of the Seeking the Gold mare Sluice, won for the third time in nine starts this season. It was her first grade I victory. As a juvenile, Mushka won the grade II Demoiselle on the Aqueduct main track.
The winner, who was a $2.4 million purchase at the 2008 Keeneland November breeding stock sale, has now produced a 6-2-3 record from 16 starts and earned $723,625. She was bred in Kentucky by Diane Snowden.
“She’d won an allowance race here in the spring," Mott said. "We were thinking after Saratoga that this could be a good spot to try her back in. It turned out very well.”
Mott said his charge would likley move on to the Breeders' Cup.
Mushka, sent off at 5-1, paid $12.40, $6, and $5.80. The exacta (11-4) returned $63.40 an dthe trifecta (11-4-1) was $773.40.
Dawn After Dawn was fourth, followed by Ginger Brew, Tizfiz, Be Fair, Tejida, Indescribable, Swift Temper, and Champagne Eyes