Molly Morgan Ekes Out Gardenia Score

Molly Morgan Ekes Out Gardenia Score
Photo: Coady Photography
Molly Morgan holds off Tapit's World to take the Gardenia Stakes at Ellis Park.

Bill Cubbedge's Molly Morgan took to a class drop and eked out a victory Aug. 9 in the $100,000 Gardenia Stakes (gr. III), staving off the late run of Tapit's World to claim the Ellis Park test by a head (VIDEO).

A lackluster fifth last time out in the July 12 Delaware Handicap (gr. I), the 5-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper   rebounded to the winning ways that saw her take her first graded victory one start prior, the Fleur de Lis Handicap (gr. II) a month earlier at Churchill Downs.

Jockey Jesus Castanon was aboard Molly Morgan, who went off favored at 4-5 from post 1 in a field of eight fillies and mares going one mile. Initially out-hustled for the lead, the 124-pound topweight was fourth inside while Livi Makenzie jumped out alertly to set the pace.

Livi Makenzie ticked off a quarter in :24.10 and a half in :47.89 with Quiet Success at her heels, while Molly Morgan moved up the rail in pursuit. Steadied briefly to avoid a rival's heels, she shifted outside and commenced took the lead as they reached the quarter pole in 1:12.28.

The hard-knocking racemare put in a game drive from there to the line, with Livi Makenzie breathing down her neck on the rail and Tapit's World to the attack on the outside. Seven-eighths clocked in 1:24.31 as Molly Morgan hurtled to the furlong grounds, edging out the victory in a photo finish.  

Final time for one mile on a fast track was 1:36.72.

Carrying top weight of 124 pounds, Molly Morgan returned $3.60, $2.60, and $2.20. Tapit's World paid $6.40 and $4.80, with Livi Makenzie bringing $5.20. Frivolous, Interest Free, Ocean Bertie, Quiet Success, and Lucy's Revenge completed the order of finish. Liberated scratched.

Bred in Kentucky by Cubbedge, Mike Lauffer, and Greg McDonald out of the Distorted Humor mare Capitulation, Molly Morgan improved her record to 6-3-5 from 23 starts, for earnings of $450,739.

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