Centre Court Serves Up Ace in Mrs. Revere
Centre Court served up an ace at Churchill Downs in the $202,175 Mrs. Revere Stakes (gr. IIT) Nov. 17, fulfilling expectations as the 3-2 favorite and extending her record on the Louisville turf to a perfect 3-for-3 (VIDEO).
The sophomore daughter of Smart Strike carried top weight of 120 pounds against 11 others in the 1 1/16-mile turf event, but nevertheless dominated her competition when drawing away to win her third graded stakes of 2012 by two lengths. She completed the distance on the firm Matt Winn turf course in 1:42.54 under confident handling by jockey Julien Leparoux.
"I rode her like she was the (3-2) favorite," said Leparoux, who also rode Acoma and Marketing Mix to Mrs. Revere victories in 2008 and 2011. "She kicked on very nice at the end and won pretty easy. When I asked her, she kicked away and I knew that if someone could beat me at that point it would have been a very good filly."
Coming off a pair of runner-up efforts in the Oct. 13 Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup (gr. IT) at Keeneland and the Aug. 19 Woodford Reserve Lake Placid Stakes (gr. IIT) at Saratoga Race Course for trainer Rusty Arnold, Centre Court returned to the surface that saw her notch victories in the June 16 Regret Stakes (gr. IIIT) and in a May 19 maiden special weight. The bay filly also earned a victory in the Lake George Stakes (gr. IIT) this summer at Saratoga forbreeder/ owner G. Watts Humphrey Jr.
Longshot English Class took the lead in the Mrs. Revere, opening a two-length advantage through the early going while setting fractions of :24.39 for the quarter and :48.57 for the half. Stalking in the two-path next in line, Centre Court was perfectly positioned to strike heading into the second turn. She steadily improved her position between horses through three-quarters in 1:13.15, and she struck the lead coming off the turn to draw away under three judicious strokes of the right-handed stick for a mile in 1:36.48.
Pucker Up Stakes (gr. IIIT) winner Leading Astray closed well for the place after steadying in tight along the first turn, but was second-best. Colonial Flag followed that one from well back to finish third. Solid Appeal, Miz Ida, English Class, Somali Lemonade, Peace Preserver, Regalo Mia, Volcat, Lateegra, and Charged Cotton completed the order of finish.
Centre Court returned $5, $3.20, and $2.60 while Leading Astray brought $6 and $4.80 and Colonial Flag paid $6.
"She's been there all year," Arnold said of his filly. "She's had eight starts on the turf and has never been worse than second. I haven't had one much more consistent. She just hasn't run a bad race on the grass. Sometimes you'll have a bad trip or you'll get in trouble, but she's just been there all year for us.
"She's going to Palm Meadows but she won't run 'til April. We'll point her to the Jenny Wiley (at Keeneland)."
Bred in Kentucky by the G. Watts Humphrey Jr. & Louise Ireland Humphrey Revocable Trust - 2008, Centre Court is out of the A.P. Indy mare Let. The Mrs. Revere score improved her record to 4-4-0 from nine starts, with earnings of $476,012.
The Mrs. Revere, which honors the four-time Churchill Downs stakes-winning mare owned by Dr. Hiram Polk and Dr. David Richardson and trained by Bill Mott, was one of two graded stakes events on Churchill Downs' special "Downs After Dark" program, the only nighttime racing event during the Louisville oval's 21-day Fall Meet.
Earlier on the card, Claiborne Farm and Adele B. Dilschneider's homebred Lea prevailed in the ninth running of the $117,100 Commonwealth Turf (gr. IIIT).
Also on the night, a 70-year-old track record fell. The rarely-contested distance of 1 3/16 miles on dirt was clocked in 1:58.12 by Ron Winchell's 3-year-old Tritap , who carried 118 pounds. Shaun Bridgmohan rode the winner for trainer Steve Asmussen. The previous track standard was 1:58.60 set by 5-year-old gelding Bonnie Andrew, while toting 110 pounds, on Nov. 14, 1942.
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