German-bred Daveron, C. S. Silk, and Never Retreat, all graded stakes winners in 2011, headline an overflow field of 12 fillies and mares, plus two also-eligibles for the $350,000 First Lady Stakes (gr. IT) Oct. 8 at Keeneland.
The First Lady, a one-mile turf event, is the seventh race on the card and is slated for 4:37 p.m. EDT
Daveron, trained by Graham Motion for Team Valor International, has made just three starts this year but has won all of them. The 6-year-old daughter of Black Sam Bellamy—Darwinia, by Acatenago started 2011 with a victory in the May 7 Beaugay Stakes (gr. IIIT) Belmont Park, followed by scores in the July 4 Dr. James Penny Memorial Handicap at Parx Racing and the Aug. 27 Ballston Spa (gr. IIT) at Saratoga.
“This is actually the quickest she’s come back off a race—five weeks,” said Motion of the filly, whose last work was an Aug. 19 six-furlong drill, which she completed in 1:13. “She’s been lightly raced all through the year, but seems to be doing well; I think she’s thrived on this light schedule.
“She’s a very light, high strung filly. I try not to do too much with her…she gallops out the back of the barn here at Fair Hill in one of the grass gallops every day, so I think she gets plenty out of that.”
Bred by Carlton Consultants, Daveron won a stakes in her native Germany before being sent to the United States in 2009. She enters the First Lady with a career record of 7-3-1 from 16 starts and earnings of $457,642.
Jockey Eddie Castro, who has been aboard for all of Daveron’s 2011 victories, has the return riding assignment. They will break from post 3.
William Pacella, George Bonomo,and Fred Barbara’s C. S. Silk, winner of the Foxwoods Just A Game (gr. IT) at Belmont Park June 11, will attempt to rebound from a disappointing unplaced finish in her last start, the July 31 Matchmaker (gr. IIIT) at Monmouth Park.
The 5-year-old daughter of Medaglia d'Oro —Remember the Day, by Settlement Day clearly likes the Keeneland course, as she finished second by a half length in last year’s First Lady. Trained by Dale Romans, C. S. Silk posted a bullet work Oct. 1 when she covered five furlongs in :59 4/5.
Kent Desormeaux, who was aboard for last year’s First Lady, has the riding assignment again. C. S. Silk will break from post 7.
Millionaire Never Retreat, a daughter of Smart Strike , out of the Steady Growth mare Lisieux, has also shown promise over the Keeneland turf. Trained by Chris Block for his family’s Team Block, the 6-year-old mare captured the Jenny Wiley (gr. IIT) over that course April 16.
Never Retreat enters the First Lady off a victory in the Sept. 18 Canadian (Can-IIT) at Woodbine under jockey Julien Leparoux, who has the mount again from post 12.
Two other grade I winners in the field are Team Valor International and Green Lantern Stables’ South African-bred Gypsy's Warning and Richard Duchossois’ German-bred Éclair de Lune. Gypsy’s Warning won last year’s Matriarch and Éclair de Lune won the 2009 running of the Beverly D.
Rounding out the field are other 2011 graded stakes winners Bay to Bay, Wasted Tears, and Cherokee Queen; group victors Theyskens' Theory and Together, who makes her North American debut; and U.S. stakes winners Category Seven and Absinthe Minded.
$350,000 First Lady Stakes (gr. IT, Race 7, 4:37 p. m.), Fillies and mares 3 and up, One mile (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Bay to Bay (FL), J Alvarado, 124, B A Lynch
2. Cherokee Queen (KY), L Saez, 124, M D Wolfson
3. Daveron (GER), E Castro, 124, H G Motion
4. Category Seven (FL), S J Sellers, 124, K L Hargrave
5. Absinthe Minded (KY), T J Thompson, 124, D W Lukas
6. Together (IRE), C O’Donoghue, 121, A P O’Brien
7. C. S. Silk (KY), K J Desormeaux, 124, D L Romans
8. Wasted Tears (KY), J Rosario, 124, B B Evans
9. Theyskens' Theory (KY), G K Gomez, 121, C R McGaughey III
10. Gypsy's Warning (SAF), R A Dominguez, 124, H G Motion
11. Eclair de Lune (GER), J Graham, 124, R L McAnally
12. Never Retreat (KY), J R Leparoux, 124, C M Block
13. Snow Top Mountain (KY) (AE), M Guidry, 124, T F Proctor
14. Tapitsfly (KY) (AE), R Albarado, 124, D L Romans