Irish Jasper comes home strong to win the Adena Springs Miss Preakness Stakes.<br><a target="blank" href="">Order This Photo</a>

Irish Jasper comes home strong to win the Adena Springs Miss Preakness Stakes.
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Anne M. Eberhardt

Irish Jasper Surges to Win Miss Preakness

Daughter of First Defence found room in stretch for first graded stakes score.

A fast pace and a couple of important pre-race scratches provided the perfect formula for Irish Jasper in the $150,000 Adena Springs Miss Preakness Stakes (gr. III) May 15 at Pimlico Race Course (VIDEO).

The 3-year-old daughter of First Defence is trained and owned by Derek Ryan, and won the Belle Harbor Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack April 26, before stepping into graded waters for the first time in the Miss Preakness. Morning-line favorite Enchanting Lady, second choice Miss Ella, and longshot Regina Christina were scratched by their trainers.

With jockey Kendrick Carmouche, Irish Jasper bumped with Streamsong at the break, then settled calmly in seventh as Super Saks and Windy Forecast dueled for the lead through an opening quarter-mile in: 22.66.

Windy Forecast took command with a 1 1/2-length lead after a half in :45.70, while Irish Jasper remained in seventh, 5 1/4 lengths back, but the winner advanced between horses in the turn and through the stretch to win by 1 1/4 lengths over fellow closer Huasca. Coco's Wildcat was third, 2 1/2 lengths behind the runner-up.

"I knew we had a lot of speed in the race." Carmouche said. "I wanted to get a close position. Once I got my position I just sat on her. ... Once we got to the eighth pole, we had to find a hole. Once I found the hole, she just exploded. I'm 4-for-4 on her."

Irish Jasper, off at 5-1, finished the six furlongs in 1:10.78 over a dirt track rated fast and paid $12, $4.20, and $3 across the board. Huasca delivered $4.20 and $3.40. Coco's Wildcat returned $5.20 to show.

Bred in Kentucky by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Courtney, the winner is out of the Mr. Greeley mare Irish Connection. Her record is now 5-0-1 from eight career starts with earnings of $225,800.

Divine Dawn was fourth, followed by Spark, Windy Forecast, Super Saks, and Streamsong.