House of Grace Captures Tight Jessamine
by Jack Shinar
Date Posted: 10/15/2009 5:57:21 PM
Last Updated: 10/17/2009 2:08:52 PM

House of Grace (left) outfinishes Smart Seattle to win the Jessamine at Keeneland.
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Photo: Mathea Kelley

House of Grace caught Smart Seattle at the wire to register a nose victory in the $150,000 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine Stakes, which was taken off the turf and transferred to Keeneland's Polytrack Oct. 15 at the rain-slickened Lexington track (VIDEO).

The 1 1/16-mile race was a Breeders' Cup challenge series race for the $1-million Juvenile Fillies Turf Nov. 6 at Santa Anita, but lost its designation due to the surface switch. However, winning trainer Kenny McPeek said afterward that House of Grace would "definitley" be pointed toward the one-mile grass event anyway.

“We’d like to get back to the grass," he said. "I think she’s better on the turf. It’s just a great situation.”

Owned by Susan McPeek and partners' Magdalena Racing, House of Grace is now two-for-two in her young career. The daughter of Limehouse  --Gracility (by Known Fact), broke her maiden at odds of 28-1 in an impressive debut by five lengths over a Saratoga turf course rated "good" Aug. 19.

Mike Luzzi was aboard for the ride on House of Grace for the second time, allowing the bay filly to settle into stride along the inside in sixth position as Whydah took the field through quarter-mile fractions of :23.71, :47.49, and 1:12.66 with Waynetta and Avy Baby tracking in second and third, respectively. Smart Seattle, rating in fourth along the inside for jockey Jeremy Rose, swept past Whydah in upper stretch to open a daylight advantage as House of Grace moved into contention along the rail.

House of Grace had a couple of lengths to make up from mid-stretch as Luzzi angled out slightly for the charge to the wire. In a terrific finish, she tagged Smart Seattle in the final stride to win by a short nose on the outside of her rival. Hatheer, the 2-1 favorite in the field of nine, loomed dangerously for Alan Garcia on the outside in the stretch run but could not finish with the first two and had to settle for third, 3 1/4 lengths behind. The final time was 1:44.32.

“Great trip,” said Luzzi. “I followed Jeremy Rose (on Smart Seattle). He got a perfect trip; so did I.”

Crown's Way Farm and Dr. Dede McGehee bred the winner in Kentucky. House of Grace earned $90,000 for the win, boosting her career total to $120,600.

Sent off as the third choice, House of Grace paid $8, $3.80, and $3 while topping a $2 exacta worth $25.20. Smart Seattle, who ran second in the P.G. Johnson Stakes on the Saratoga grass in her last start Sept. 3 for trainer Graham Motion, returned $3.80 and $2.60. Shadwell Stable's homebred Hatheer, a daughter of Storm Cat who broke her maiden at Saratoga as an odds-on choice Sept. 7, was $2.80 to show.

Canadian Storm rallied for fourth, followed by Waynetta, Whydah, Oscar de La Thorn, Poortown Princess, and Avy Baby. Dreaminofjosephine, Jonmil's Edge, and Lisa's Kitten scratched.



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