Eurowest Bloodstock's Take The Ribbon got up in the final lunge for jockey Rafael Bejarano to nose Quite a Bride in the $166,350 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) Saturday.
The 4-year-old Chester House filly covered the one-mile distance over good turf in 1:36.89. Quite a Bride, ridden by Cornelio Velasquez, was a short nose back in second, with Rich Fantasy and Robby Albarado taking third. Magnificent Song, the 13-10 choice, finished fourth in a field reduced to five by a pair of high-profile scratches in Lady of Venice and Price Tag.
Rich Fantasy, pressed by Quite a Bride, took the five-horse field through fractions of :24.29, :48.94 and 1:13.59 before the winner split her rivals and surged to the wire while battling Quite a Bride. Bejarano, who was posting his third victory of the day, swung Take the Ribbon to the outside of Quite a Bride and gradually closed the margin just in time.
"I waited until about the quarter pole to ask her," Bejarano said. "I waited for (Quite a Bride) to move first, because I didn’t want her to catch us in the end."
“He just got me on the wire," Velasquez said. "Just got me. "(Quite A Bride) ran really well. Too bad.”
Garrett Gomez, who rode the fading favorite Magnificent Song, noted that she was coming off an eight-month layoff. "Her performance wasn't really a bad performance. All in all, I would have liked for her to run a little bit better, but this was a stepping stone."
Wally Dollase trains the homebred filly for Tanya Gunther's Eurowest Bloodstock who bred her from Miswaki mare Magical Flash. Take The Ribbon's 3-year-old half-sister by Tiznow, Inside Passage, won the third race on the card for the same connections.
“I can’t do anything wrong today," Dollase laughed. "I call this a complete luck-out win. Anytime you win by an inch, it’s a luck-out win. We gave her a rest after she had eight hard races last year, including three in grade I company. She was always a cut below those, but she had a ton of ability, and I knew she would do well if we put her in the right company.”
Take The Ribbon has now won 3 of 10 career starts. Take The Ribbon's first graded stakes win was worth $103,137 and increased the filly’s career bankroll to $285,401.
Sent off as the third choice, she returned $9, $3.80, and $3. Quite a Bride returned $3.40 and $2.60. Rich Fantasy returned $2.80.
Culpeper Moon finished last.