Proviso surges late to win the Just a Game.

Proviso surges late to win the Just a Game.

Rick Samuels

Proviso Proves Best in Just A Game

Juddmonte mare completes back-to-back grade I victories on opposite coasts.

Since arriving stateside 18 months ago, Proviso is proving that she likes North America just fine. The 5-year-old daughter of Dansili tallied her third grade I victory in North America when she took the June 5 Just A Game Stakes (gr. IT) (VIDEO) on the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) undercard.

One of those grade I triumphs—her U.S. debut in Keeneland's Spinster Stakes last fall—was overturned by stewards, however, after they found Proviso had shied into the path of runner-up Mushka in deep stretch. Proviso was placed second.

Turf juggernaut Juddmonte Farms sent out the homebred in the grassy Just A Game following her nose victory cross-country in the Frank E. Kilroe Handicap (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Park March 6. Following the death of trainer Bobby Frankel  last fall, Proviso was moved to the Bill Mott barn, and Mott has scored a pair of grade I victories with her after a second in the Santa Monica Handicap (gr. I) in January.

The $400,000 Just A Game attracted a field of six, with Speak Easy Gal leaving fastest and setting early fractions of :24.54 and :48.21. After breaking in the third position, Proviso, under Mike Smith, ranged up on the outside of the leader and sat comfortably in second outside of Cherokee Queen.

The order stayed the same in the middle stages of the one-mile test, and as the field hit the turn, Proviso was ranging up ominously on the outside of the leader.

Speak Easy Gal proved game, holding the lead until the eighth pole, when Proviso slid past on the outside. Further out on the course, Phola was putting in a furious run and closing ground rapidly.

Proviso, though, showed her class, holding Phola at bay by a half-length on the wire. She completed the mile in 1:34.09. Phola took second by a neck over My Princess Jess.

Proviso has now been victorious in seven of her 20 lifetime starts, with a trio of seconds and five thirds. Out of the Woodman mare Binche, Proviso banked $240,000 in the Just A Game and became a millionaire in the process, with lifetime earnings of more than $1,165,000. All but three of her efforts have been on grass.

Smith first partnered with Proviso in the Kilroe, and is now two-for-two on her.