Spendthrift Farm's homebred Moonwalk lived up to her name on Thursday in the Grade 3, $150,000 Jessamine by slipping through on the inside to score a nose victory under jockey Corey Lanerie. The Dale Romans trainee just held as Kitten's Point rallied late on the outside, but managed to hold on while finishing 1 1/16 miles on the firm Keeneland turf in 1:45.
The juvenile daughter of Malibu Moon is now likely headed to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, as the Jessamine was a "Win and You're In" race for that particular contest on November 2 at Santa Anita.
"I don't know why we wouldn't," Romans replied when asked if Moonwalk would take part in the Breeders' Cup. "I'll talk to (Spendthrift Farm owner) Mr. (B. Wayne) Hughes and (general farm manager) Ned (Toffey) about it, but I don't know why we wouldn't. You have a free roll."Maliub Moon was sent off the 36-1 third longest shot on the board, but stayed in contention throughout, drafting in second behind pacesetter Sunset Time through splits of :23 4/5, :49 2/5 and 1:15 1/5. Jockey Corey Lanerie gave the dark bay miss an expert ride while in between rivals during the stretch run to prevail and return $74, $28.40 and $17.40 to her backers.
"You just don't know with all these horses," Romans noted. "She's doing good and she can run, so we'll give her a shot. She showed how much she can run."
"My horse broke really sharp," Lanerie said. "Kinda surprised me. Last time I rode her I was a little off the pace. Today she came out there running. She was going real easy so I tried to take nothing away from her and just ride her where she was comfortable. Actually they got by her and she dug in. She refused to lose."
Kitten's Point was game in defeat and had a head to spare on third-placer Summer of Fun, who in turn was just a nose up on fourth-placer Oscar Party.
"I had a great trip," explained Kitten's Point rider, John Velazquez. "We covered up the way we wanted to. She responded right away when I asked her. We were in a little tight around the quarter-pole and we went a little wider than we wanted to and it took us a little while to get going again. She was very game for everything I asked her to do. I thought I won the race."
Sunset Time just couldn't withstand the rush of the top four and wound up fifth, a neck in front of Hedonemewrongsong. That one had a head to spare on Pure Fun, while Pappascat, Go Kitten Go, near 3-1 favorite Always Kitten and Free Song completed the order under the wire. Zip Cash Back and Street of Gold were both withdrawn.
Moonwalk finished third behind Oscar Party and Zip Cash Back while making her stakes bow in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies last out following a nice one-length maiden victory at Ellis Park. The Kentucky-bred miss began her career at the Henderson, Kentucky, venue on July 15 when filling the runner-up spot in a maiden contest. The Jessamine boosted her bankroll to $122,150 and she now boasts a 4-2-1-1 career mark.
Moonwalk is out of the dual-stakes placed Red Ransom mare Lucinda K, making her a half-sister to Grade 2-placed stakes winner Thatswhatimean and Grade 2 runner-up Atswhatimtalknbout. The trio are also half-siblings to the dam of this year's Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks and Rodeo Drive-placed Stormy Lucy.
Moonwalk was a $220,000 RNA at last year's Keeneland September Yearling Sale.