Able to milk an easy lead for jockey Elvis Trujillo, Closing Range spurted away from favorites Ciao Bella and Havant at the head of the lane and went on to post a 19-1 upset in the $100,000 La Prevoyante Handicap (gr. IIIT) on closing day at Calder Casino & Race Course Nov. 30 (VIDEO).
The 3-year-old Closing Range, who broke her maiden at Indiana Downs in her May 29 debut, picked up her first graded stakes win in the La Prevoyante. Making her initial start at the marathon 1 1/2-mile distance, the dark bay or brown filly prevailed by an impressive 2 3/4 lengths and was timed in 2:27.54 over firm going.
By After Market out of the winning Caerleon mare Subeen, Closing Range races for her breeder, Ian Banwell's St. George Farm, and is trained by Philip Oliver. The Kentucky-bred filly won for the fourth time in six starts this season.
Six fillies and mares contested the La Prevoyante following the scratches of My Pal Chrisy and Thislilsoulofmine.
After besting Ciao Bella for the lead out of the gate, Closing Range was firmly rated along the inside while outpacing Ciao Bella, sent off at odds of 3-2, and the British-bred Havant, the 9-10 favorite who broke a bit slowly but was hustled into contention by Jose Lezcano. Left alone on the front end by about one length, Trujillo nursed the pace on Closing Range, who negotiated the opening half mile in :49.66 and clicked off the mile in 1:39.79.
"That was the plan, to put her on the lead," Trujillo said. "She broke sharp and I got her to relax as best she could."
After reaching the quarter pole in 2:03.75, Closing Range began to widen her advantage over Ciao Bella, who was under a drive to keep up by John Velazquez as Havant continued to track in third. But Closing Range expanded her edge in the lane, leading by 2 1/2 lengths at the furlong mark. She won under some right-handed urging from Trujillo.
"Past the three-eighths, the lead got a little shorter and the others started coming to me," Trujillo said. "So I waited just a little bit more, and when she changed leads and got in the straight, it was time to go. She finished strong."
as Ciao Bella did well to take second by 1 1/4 lengths. Havant, who came up empty in the drive, held onto the third spot by a head over 60-1 shot Peekablue Sue. The latter made progress at the rail in the late stages as Centring and Clarinet brought up the rear.
Winner of a minor stakes in her first attempt at black type Aug. 26 at Monmouth Park, Closing Range came into the La Prevoyante off the only poor race of her career when she finished eighth in the Valley View Stakes (gr. IIIT) on the Keeneland grass Oct. 19. She has raced at different tracks in all six starts of her career and has now banked $149,898.
Closing Range paid $41.80, $7.80, and $2.60, while keying a $128.60 exacta. Michael Tabor's Ciao Bella, second in the Rood and Riddle Dowager Stakes at Keeneland in her most recent start Oct. 21 for trainer Todd Pletcher, returned $3 and $2.20. Havant, a group III winner at Newmarket making her second start in the United States for trainer Christophe Clement, paid $2.10 to show.
Racing in southern Florida now moves to Gulfstream Park, which opens for a 90-day meet Dec. 1.