Trained by Christophe Clement, Denomination covered 1 1/16 miles over firm turf in 1:41.92 to earn her second graded stakes win this season. The 5-year-old daughter of Smart Strike—Dreamlike, by Storm Cat, captured the Hillsborough Stakes (gr. IIIT) earlier this season at Tampa Bay Downs.
Denomination was a group III stakes winner in France as a 3-year-old. She entered the Violet off an eighth-place finish in the April 22 Hillard Lyons Doubledogdare Stakes (gr. III), but that was over the Keeneland Polytrack. The turf is more to her liking.
After settling near the back early on in the Violet, Denomination needed every bit of the stretch to run down La Reine Lionne and 17-1 Unbridled Essence, who rallied from the outside. Denomination was able to split both horses in the final yards and gamely hold off Unbridled Essence for the win.
“Heading into the far turn, she gave me the sensation that all she needed was a hole and she was going to run for me,” said winning jockey Joe Bravo. “She was well within herself. I’m just really thankful for being on this horse today.”
Unbridled Essence settled for second, one length in front of La Reine Lionne. Marquet Madness finished fourth after setting fractions of :24.50, :48.47, and 1:11.65 and taking a 2 1/2-length lead into the stretch.
From 21 lifetime starts, Denomination has a record of 6-4-3 and earnings of $429,301. She was bred in Kentucky by Brookdale Thoroughbreds.
The winner paid $4.20, $3, and $2.60 as the favorite in the field of seven fillies and mares. Unbridled Essence completed a $45.20 exacta and returned $8.20 and $3.80. La Reine Lionne paid $2.60 to show.