Forever Together came from off the pace to collar longtime leader Precious Kitten inside the sixteenth pole, going on to capture the $400,000 First Lady (VIDEO) by 1 1/2 lengths on the turf Oct. 3, the first grade I event of the Keeneland 2008 fall meet.
Ridden patiently by Julien Leparoux, Forever Together was fifth after three-quarters of a mile before making a four-wide assault on the lead. She moved into second at the eighth pole and was able to corral betting favorite Precious Kitten and Rafael Bejarano in the final yards. The 4-year-old daughter of Belong to Me snagged her second grade I event of the season. She also took the Diana (gr. IT) two starts back at Saratoga. She is owned by George Strawbridge Jr.’s Augustin Stable and trained by Jonathan Sheppard.
The final time for a mile on a ‘firm’ turf course was 1:35-flat. Lael Stables’ Precious Kitten held second, two lengths in front of third place Rutherienne.
"She's a very good filly and she's got very good kick," Leparoux said. "Today, she proved she's one of the best fillies in the country."
Precious Kitten, who scored in the grade I Gamely Stakes in May, was intent on grabbing the lead from the beginning. She clicked off honest fractions of :23.93, :47.80 and 1:11.34. The 5-year-old Bobby Frankel trainee was being pressed by Dreaming Of Anna for six furlongs, while Bayou’s Lassie and Roshani were next in line.
Forever Together saved ground through the backstretch before angling out for her winning move. It was her first victory in two tries at Keeneland.
Forever Together was bred in Kentucky by White Fox Farm and is out of the Relaunch mare Constant Companion. She entered the First Lady off a third-place finish in the Sept. 7 Canadian (gr. IIT) at Woodbine. The gray/roan filly is now 3-0-2 from five turf lifetime starts.
"She's moved up a notch, I think (since moving to turf)," Sheppard said. "We had a bit of a hiccup in Canada. The ground was very soft. She didn't like it.
"We were pretty confident she would do better on the grass today, but it's such a tough race. You never really know, and she was dropping back a little more in distance."
Sent off as the second choice in a field of seven, the winner paid $7, $4 and $2.40. The exacta (6-1) returned $20.80, with the trifecta (6-1-3) netting $69.80.
Bayou’s Lassie finished fourth, followed by Stormy West, Dreaming of Anna and Roshani.