(Edited Churchill Downs report)
Miss Macy Sue, ridden by Eusebio Razo Jr., rallied from just off of a rapid pace and drew away late to score a comfortable 2 1/4-length victory in stakes record time in the fourth running of the $110,100 grade III Winning Colors Stakes (VIDEO) on the Memorial Day program at Churchill Downs.
Winning her third consecutive stakes race and her first graded stakes event, Miss Macy Sue covered six furlongs over a “fast” track in a stakes record 1:08.68 and paid $5.60, $3.80 and $3.40 as the second betting choice in a field of eight. Cuaba, ridden by Larry Melancon, rallied from seventh to easily grab the runner-up spot and paid $7 and $6. Morethanaprincess, who took the lead at the top of the stretch and battled into the final furlong under jockey Miguel Mena, held on for third and paid $7.40.
Favored Ready to Please broke slowly before she rushed into contention in third under jockey Robby Albarado, but finished fourth -- seven lengths behind the winner.
Miss Macy Sue, a 4-year-old daughter of Trippi, is owned by the Roll Reroll Stable of William Gessman and Dennis Albaugh and trained by Kelly Von Hemel. She is based at Iowa’s Prairie Meadows and her victory in her racing debut at Churchill Downs extended her winning streak to three after she had scored easy victories in the Carousel Stakes at Oaklawn Park and the Prairie Rose at Prairie Meadows in her only previous starts of 2007. The victory in the Winning Colors improved Miss Macy Sue’s career record to 7-3-1 in 14 races and boosted her earnings to $251,677.
“Going in, we felt we would be very competitive with a good shot to win,” said Von Hemel, who notched his first stakes victory at Churchill Downs. “You always worry until the end, but turning for home it looked like we had a good shot, and by the sixteenth pole there was nobody else coming at us. By then, we knew we had it.”
Miss Macy Sue bobbled slightly at the start, while Ocean Current and Morethanaprincess jumped quickly from the starting gate and launched a duel for the lead. Favored Ready to Please broke a step slowly from her rail post, then rushed up to track the leaders in third while Miss Macy Sue sat outside of that group in fourth. The leaders took the field through brisk early fractions of :21.33 for the quarter mile and :44.30 for the half. Morethanaprincess took over to lead the tightly bunched pack at the top the of the stretch, but was immediately tackled by Razo and Miss Macy Sue, who wore down the leader and started to pull away inside the final eighth of a mile. Cuaba rallied wide in deep stretch to grab the runner-up spot, but never threatened the winner.
“She ran a great race and had no excuse,” said Melancon of Cuaba. “We had a good trip, but we were just second-best today.”
Mike McCarthy, the assistant who oversees trainer Todd Pletcher’s Churchill Downs stable, said the chances of Ready to Please were compromised when Albarado had to push the favorite from her rail post in the early going to avoid being shuffled back in the field and out of contention.
“I kind of thought it would be a tough task, being stuck down on the inside there,” said McCarthy. “I think she likes to find her own rhythm and pick ‘em up as they go, but obviously being stuck down on the inside it kind of forces your hand and you need to go a little bit. It just didn’t work out for us today.”
After Ready to Please, Ocean Current, Flashy Lady, Morner and Arradoul completed the order of finish in the Winning Colors.