A smashing winner of the Central Bank Ashland Stakes (gr. I) this spring, favored Emollient returned to Keeneland Oct. 6 to capture the $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (gr. I) in another dazzling effort (VIDEO).
The only 3-year-old in the field, Emollient trailed into the far turn on a rainy day at Keeneland before unleashing a spectacular drive on the far outside under Mike Smith. She won convincingly by 1 1/4 lengths in her first try against older rivals.
Emollient produced the victory for Juddmonte Farms, which has sponsored the Spinster since 2005 but had not won the race during that time. Bill Mott trains the daughter of Empire Maker out of the Touch Gold mare Soothing Touch.
"It was reminiscent of a couple of her past races where she's taken herself back a little; she hasn't broken as well as what she did in the spring," noted Mott, the Hall of Fame trainer.
"They don't always do what you think they're going to do, but the good thing was she came with a big run," Mott added. "Mike went to the alternate plan (when she didn't break) and the only thing you could do and that's ride from where she broke and where she settled in. I guess we've got to do it their way once in a while."
The win guarantees a spot in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) Nov. 1 at Santa Anita Park for Emollient, who registered her third grade I win of the year in the "Win & You're In" Breeders' Cup Challenge event.
Summer Applause closed willingly racing on the inside of Emollient but could not match the winner late and settled for second in the field of 11, with Wine Princess well back in third. The final time for the 1 1/8-mile distance on Polytrack was 1:47.75.
Emollient, who received a three-pound weight break while carrying 121, paid $6.60, $4.20, and $4. Summer Applause, ridden by John Velazquez, returned $7.80 and $5.20 while completing a $62.60 exacta. Wine Princess paid $7.40 to show.
Winner of the Ashland by nine lengths April 6 in a front-running effort, Emollient became the fourth horse to complete the Ashland/Spinster double, following Doubledogdare (1956), Optimistic Gal (1976), and Take Charge Lady (2002).
In addition to those wins, Emollient captured the American Oaks (gr. IT) in her turf debut July 13 at Betfair Hollywood Park. She came into the Spinster off an eighth-place finish in the Garden City Stakes (gr. IT) on the Belmont Park inner turf Sept. 14.
The Spinster start was delayed several minutes by the wet weather and a shoe repair for Summer Applause.
Slow to begin, Smith allowed Emollient to drop out to last but no more than about seven lengths off the early pace as Sisterly Love showed the way over Sisterhood and On Fire Baby on the far outside through a deliberate tempo. Sisterly Love opened up by two lengths on the turn for home after stepping quarter mile fractions of :23.60, :47.30, and 1:11.03.
Unhurried into the turn, Emollient went five wide rounding the far bend and eight or nine paths off the rail through the lane. But she surged past the field under right-handed urging from Smith to draw within a head of Sisterly Love at the eighth pole with Summer Applause just a half-length behind her. Emollient pulled clear late to win comfortably.
"Recently for some odd reason, she has been wanting to come from out of it," said Smith, who has ridden the filly in her past five races. "The plan was if we did get away well, ride her out of there a jump or two and see where we were at. If not, sit back there and make one run. We had to go to Plan B, and it really worked.
"About halfway down the backside, I tested her a little and she was full of run. I knew she was OK."
Summer Applause was 3 1/2 lengths ahead of Wine Princess, who closed well from mid-pack in upper stretch to edge Sisterly Love by a neck for third. Then came Open Water, second choice Byrama, Hard Not to Like, Hard to Resist, Closing Range, Sisterhood, and On Fire Baby.
Emollient is the first foal out of her dam, 9-year-old Soothing Touch, who was purchased for $550,000 by Juddmonte at the 2005 Keeneland September yearling sale from Lane's End, agent. With five wins and two seconds from 10 lifetime starts, the bay filly has now earned $958,900 with the Spinster's winning slice of $300,000.