Molly Morgan took charge in the stretch and cruised to a clear victory over Street Girl in the $237,510 Chilukki Stakes (gr. II) for fillies and mares the evening of Nov. 1 at Churchill Downs (VIDEO).
Corey Lanerie rode the Dale Romans-trained Molly Morgan to a 2 1/4-length tally at 11-10 odds. She completed the one-mile trip in 1:36.97 on a fast track, providing the rider his fourth win on the card.
The Chilukki was the second grade II triumph this year at Churchill for Bill Cubbedge's homebred Molly Morgan. In June, the 5-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper skimmed the rail to score a 10-1 upset by four lengths in the Fleur de Lis Handicap (gr. II) at the Louisville track. She also won the Gardenia (gr. III) at Ellis Park this summer.
Molly Morgan won the Chilukki in similar fashion. She was unhurried early as Honey Hues led the field of 10 fillies and mares through fractions of :23.34, :46.50 and 1:11.72 for six furlongs. Molly Morgan ranged into contention, moved to the inside on the turn for home, and kicked clear for the comfortable win.
"She's just a different horse here," Lanerie said. "I don't know if it's the night time or what, but it seems like her best races have come under the lights. This horse runs at a different spot on the rail; she gets really close. When I put her on there she really seemed to accelerate; it was like I pushed the button and she went easy today. I thought she ran great."
Molly Morgan banked the $140,244 first prize and rewarded her backers with $4.20, $3.20 and $2.40 as the even-money favorite. Street Girl, ridden by Calvin Borel, paid $5.20 and $3.80. Enchanting Lisa, a half sister to two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan, was another half length back in third under Robby Albarado and paid $5.60.
Anahauc, Spring in the Air, My Option, Drama Drama, Call Pat, Honey Hues, and My Happy Face completed the order of finish.
Molly Morgan improved her career line to 7-4-6 from 26 starts and increased her lifetime bankroll to $662,407. Bred in Kentucky by Cubbedge along with Mike Lauffer and Greg McDonald, she is out of the Distorted Humor mare Capitulation.
"She absolutely loves this racetrack and she's really come around," said Baldemar Bahena, longtime assistant to Romans, who also won the 2004 Chilukki with Halory Leigh.
"I think it was a lot easier for her to run here than go out to California (for Friday's $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff, gr. I) and I'm glad it worked out."