Beat the Blues, runner-up to Island Bound in Churchill Downs' Winning Colors Stakes (gr. III) (VIDEO) a year ago and second in 2011 to Sassy Image under the Twin Spires, made amends May 27 with a front-running score in the six-furlong race.
The 6-year-old daughter of the Irish stallion Great Pyramid (by Danehill) got the trip in a zippy 1:08.59, topping odds-on favorite Judy the Beauty by three-quarters of a length.
Breaking from post 3 in a five-horse field shortened by the scratches of Blueeyesintherein and Holiday Soiree, Beat the Blues went right to the front in the $108,000 Winning Colors and clicked off a sizzling opening first-quarter mile in :21.42 under Miguel Mena. Burban, the 2-1 second choice, gave chase early while off the rail with Judy the Beauty out further still in third. Funnys Approval, who broke from the rail and nearly unseated rider Marcelino Pedroza in the gate, was along the wood.
"My filly was traveling so nice," Mena said. "Even though the fractions were fast, she looked like she was enjoying doing it." She picked it up at the eighth pole and was game. She ran great and was ready for this race."
Burban, runner-up in the Humana Distaff (gr. I), poked her head in front after a half in :44.17, but Beat the Blues was strong on the turn and in the lane to get back on top at the eighth pole by one length after five furlongs in :55.92. Judy the Beauty rallied for second but wasn't going to catch the winner. Vuitton, who trailed the field early, rallied for third, 4 1/4 lengths behind Judy the Beauty. She was followed by Burban and Funnys Approval.
"She picked it up at the eighth pole and was game," Mena said. "She ran great and was ready for this race. She deserved this win."
The winner, out of the Pentelicus mare Imtheblues, races for Martin Racing Stable and Morgan Thoroughbreds, and is trained by Bret Calhoun. She was making her third start of the year having run second in her 2013 bow in the Mardi Gras Handicap at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots Feb. 12, then running second in the Carousel Stakes at Oaklawn Park April 11.
"She's been a bridesmaid in so many big races and she was deserving of this," Calhoun said. "She's run a lot of good races against some good horses and has just been unfortunate to not get there in a graded stakes. Today was her day."
In one other start under the Twin Spires Beat the Blues won an allowance/optional claiming race in November 2011. In all she now has a 10-6-4 slate from 24 starts and has earned $520,634.
The winner paid $11.20, $4, and $3.20. Grade I-placed Judy the Beauty, making her second start of the year after an optional claiming score at Keeneland, paid $2.60, $2.20. Vuitton returned $3.40. The 3-4 exacta paid $28.40 and the $2 trifecta of 3-4-2 paid $84.