La Gran Bailadora flies home to win the Distorted Humor Kentucky Cup Distaff.<br><a target="blank" href="">Order This Photo</a>

La Gran Bailadora flies home to win the Distorted Humor Kentucky Cup Distaff.
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Anne M. Eberhardt

Maker Takes His Fifth With La Gran Bailadora

Trainer's third stakes victory comes in Kentucky Cup Distaff at Turfway Park.

La Gran Bailadora came from far off the pace on the final turn to capture the $100,000 Distorted Humor Kentucky Cup Distaff (gr. III) Sept. 24 (VIDEO), giving trainer Mike Maker three consecutive stakes wins on the Turfway Park program.

Maker had five victories on the card. He won the Bluegrass Cat Kentucky Cup Juvenile with 1-2 choice Hansen by more than 13 lengths two races prior to the Distaff, and came back to saddle Matthewsburg for a 9-1 upset in the Speightstown Kentucky Cup Sprint (gr. III).

La Gran Bailadora, a homebred racing for Tracy Farmer, earned her fourth victory on Turfway's Polytrack in six tries. She won the one-mile Likely Exchange Stakes over the track in February and missed by a head in the Wintergreen Stakes a month later. The Kentucky Cup Distaff was the first graded stakes win for the 4-year-old daughter of Afleet Alex --Affirmed Dancer, by Affirmed.

"I just think Polytrack is her best surface," Maker said. "She hasn’t really cared for the turf. I tried her on the dirt and she didn’t care for it. I’ll try to keep her Polytrack racing.

With Corey Lanerie aboard, La Gran Bailadora ran the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:44.90 while defeating Bella Medaglia by one length.

In a field of seven older fillies, High Quality, Bella Medaglia, and Persuading vied for the lead. High Quality led the opening quarter-mile in :24.48 before dropping back to third as Persuading held a short advantage over Bella Medaglia through a half-mile in :48.43 and six furlongs in 1:12.73.

La Gran Bailadora, who broke from the rail, raced in last -- about seven to eight lengths behind the leaders -- before launching her bid rounding the final bend. She would circle the field to collar Bella Medaglia, who had opened up a commanding lead at mid-stretch, in the final sixteenth of a mile. La Gran Bailadora edged away in the final strides under firm handling from Lanerie.

"You always go in confidence when you ride for Mike," Lanerie said. "Just proud to be part of the team. I was last early, just kind of got her out on the turn and she was best today. Once we got to the three-eighths pole, I knew I had them. When I got to the filly on the lead I was a little concerned because she put up a fight, but my horse got by her and pulled away."

Bella Medaglia finished eight lengths in front of the show horse, Kiss Mine, ridden by Terry Thompson. Even-money choice Upperline ran last.

La Gran Bailadora earned $60,760 for her fifth lifetime win in 19 starts, boosting her career bankroll to $205,699. She had not raced since a sixth-place finish in the Modesty Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the Arlington Park turf July 9. She had lost five in a row since her earlier stakes win at Turfway.

Maker said he would consider the Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (gr. I) over nine furlongs at Keeneland Oct. 9 for La Gran Bailadora's next start. Keeneland's main track is also comprised of Polytrack.

Sent off as the second choice, La Gran Bailadora carried 120 pounds and paid $10.40, $5.20, $3.20. Bella Medaglia returned $9.80 and $4.80, and completed an $81.40 exacta. Kiss Mine was $3.80 to show.

Persuading was fourth, followed by High Quality, Ailalea, and Upperline, who failed to respond from near the rear of the pack after a ground-saving ride.

"I had a perfect trip," said jockey Joe Talamo. "We just got outrun."