Shipping in from California for trainer A. C. Avila, Great Hot used a ground-saving trip under Chantal Sutherland and edged Groupie Doll by a head in a thrilling edition of the $250,000 Lexus Raven Run (gr. II) (VIDEO) Oct. 22 at Keeneland.
Five horses were across the track in deep stretch of the seven-furlong Raven Run, with Great Hot hugging the rail and a rallying Groupie Doll powering down the center of the Polytrack under Greta Kuntzweiler. It took a photo before Great Hot was declared the winner.
Bred in Brazil by her owner, Coudelaria Jessica, Great Hot notched the first graded stakes victory of her career. The 3-year-old daughter of Orientate entered off a solid third-place finish in the Lady’s Secret Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita, and won the Torrey Pines Stakes one start prior on the Del Mar Polytrack.
Great Hot is out of the Seeking the Gold mare That’s Hot.
Great Hot was bumped sharply at the break when Funny Sunny came in on her, but she recovered well and was never too far off the pace while racing near the inside. Roman Treasure showed the way through a contested opening quarter-mile in :22.07, but longshot Dr. Diamonds Prize and Honey Chile made the front heading into the turn (:44.62 half-mile), with the other California shipper, Mizdirection, just in back of them.
Dr. Diamonds Prize and Victor Lebron shook clear of Honey Chile when they came off the turn and had a 1 1/2-length lead at the eighth pole. But it was a wide-open race by mid-stretch, as Strike the Moon and Mizdirection soon joined her, Great Hot kept charging along the rail, and Groupie Doll, six-wide entering the lane, was rallying from off the pace from the outside.
Great Hot finally stuck her head in front of Dr. Diamonds Prize, Strike the Moon, and Mizdirection in the final strides, but Groupie Doll was her biggest threat after making one final charge from the center of the track.
“Coming out of the gate I got a welcome to Kentucky, a couple of bumps, and then she recovered really nice from there," Sutherland said. "I was staying in just a really sweet spot. It’s difficult to know where the wire is here, but I just kept riding and when I picked my head up I saw Greta on the other side. I was impressed, you know, two girls got there. I’m just really pleased with how she ran. I think she’s an awesome filly and I’m so grateful to be on her.”
The final time on the Polytrack was 1:21.70. Dr. Diamonds Prize, a 76-1 longshot, crossed the wire third and favored Mizdirection fourth, but the order was reversed after Mizdirection jockey Garrett Gomez successfully claimed foul on Lebron for interference in deep stretch.
Great Hot won for the fourth time in seven career starts. She made the first start of her career in Brazil as a 2-year-old and won in her U.S. debut at Santa Anita in an optional claimer in March. The dark bay/brown filly won the Sept. 4 Torrey Pines by three parts of a length in her first try on a synthetic surface.
Her win on Saturday upped her lifetime earnings to $291,265.
“She’s been good to us since day one," Avila said. "She likes the synthetic, but I still believe she’s much better on the dirt. I’m going to talk to (owner Luiz Dannemann) in Brazil, but I think the Breeders’ Cup (will be next).”
Great Hot paid $10.40, $5.40, and $3.80. The exacta (4-2) returned $53.40 and the trifecta (4-2-12) was worth $289.