If she wasn't the favorite for the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) before, Kathmanblu certainly made a strong case on Feb. 19, as she came from off the pace to win her third consecutive stakes in the $147,000 Rachel Alexandra (gr. III) (VIDEO) at Fair Grounds.
Sent off as the heavy 3-5 favorite, the 3-year-old daughter of Bluegrass Cat raced in fourth into a slow pace through the backstretch, move into contention coming off the turn, and ran down pacesetter Gran Lioness inside the sixteenth pole for another impressive victory. She won by 1 1/4 lengths and covered 1 1/16 miles on the fast dirt in 1:45.13.
Woodbine shipper Inglorious gave chase late under Chantel Sutherland but had to settle for second, three-quarters of a length in front of Gran Lioness in the field of six.
Gran Lioness, with Jamie Theriot aboard, carved out easy fractions of :24.83, :49.27, and 1:14.30.
Trained by Ken McPeek, Kathmanblu was coming off a win in the Sweetest Chant Stakes Jan. 22 on the Gulfstream Park turf in her season debut. She ended her successful juvenile season by winning the Golden Rod (gr. II) by 8 1/2 dominating lengths at Churchill Downs, three weeks after finishing third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IIT). The bay filly won the Jessamine Stakes at Keeneland earlier in 2010.
Five D Thoroughbreds, which bred Kathmanblu in Kentucky, also co-owns her with Wind River Stables. She is out of the Devil’s Bag mare Abba Gold.
“She’s all class, she always has been," McPeek said. "I think she is a lot better than she ran today. We were a little conservative with her with her workout coming into the race. There’s a lot of time between now and the Kentucky Oaks and that is obviously the bigger goal. She overcame everything.
“We have a choice between the Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II), the Gulfstream Oaks (gr. II), or possibly the Ashland (gr. I). We will take her back to Miami and Gulfstream, let her settle in, and take our time. We've got no pressure at this point. Hopefully she will dictate where we go.”
Kathmanblu paid $3.20, $2.20, and $2.10. The exacta (3-5) returned $11 and the trifecta (3-5-1) was worth $38.20.
The winner improved to 5-1-1 from eight starts with earnings of $470,731.