Cherokee Queen found the right trip under Alex Solis and used it to bag her first graded stakes victory, taking the $150,000 Suwannee River (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) by two lengths Feb. 5 at Gulfstream Park.
Solis was aboard the 6-year-old mare for the first time in her 27th lifetime start and he gave her the perfect ride in the 1 1/18-mile turf contest. The daughter of Cherokee Run raced in tandem with Miss Blakely as they stalked pacesetter Persuading through honest splits. Once hitting the top of the lane Cherokee Queen took command and methodically pulled away for the score.
She hit the wire in 1:46.62 on the firm turf course, earning her eighth career victory. Never Retreat rallied well under Carlos Marquez Jr. to get second in a field of 10, a half-length in front of Persuading.
Cherokee Queen is owned by Farnsworth Stables and trained by Marty Wolfson. The dark bay/brown mare finished a close fourth in her season debut, the Jan. 9 Marshua’s River (gr. IIIT). This win, which was her first in seven graded stakes tries, upped her lifetime earnings to $477,812.
Prior to the Suwannee River, Cherokee Queen’s biggest triumph came in the 2010 Dr. James Penny Memorial Handicap at Philadelphia Park. She was bred in Kentucky by J. Mack Robinson and is out of the Virginia Rapids mare Virginia Bee.
“She got a little too far back last time (fourth in Marshua’s River)," Wolfson said. "She wants to sit close like she did today and when she won the Dr. James Penny. She has a long fuse (sustained run). She ran a very big race in the grade I Just a Game before that, behind Proviso, but got stopped cold and finished fourth. This is her first graded stakes win for us which means a lot to her (value). I haven’t thought of what might be next.”
The winner paid $11, $5.40, and $4. The exacta (3-1) returned $32.20 and the trifecta (3-1-2) was worth $57.80.
Persuading carved out fractions of :23.84, :47.43, and 1:10.78 before giving way at the top of the stretch.