Unbeaten Richwoman Grinds Out Debutante

Heiligbrodt Racing Stable's undefeated homebred Richwoman maneuvered five wide coming into the stretch and gradually wore down the 11-10 favorite Chagall to win the $109,700 Debutante (gr. III) for 2-year-old fillies at Churchill Downs Saturday.

Ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan for trainer Steve Asmussen, Richwoman overcame a tough trip to win by a neck over Chagall and Rafael Bejarano, who carried four pounds less than the winner in the six-furlong event. The final time was 1:10 2/5.

The only previous stakes winner in the six-horse field, Richwoman has won all three of her starts. The dark bay daughter of Successful Appeal -Richbabe (Richman) began her career with a 4 1/2-furlong maiden special weight win at Keeneland April 5, then returned May 27 to win Hollywood Park's 5 1/2-furlong Cinderella by 2 1/4 lengths. She earned $67,335 for Saturday's win, more than doubling her bankroll to $134,170.

Chagall, also by Succesful Appeal, was stuck wide down the backstretch, took over while four wide leaving the turn, and opened a clear advantage in upper stretch. She could not hold off the winning surge of Richwoman, who bobbled at the start from her rail post and was steadied a couple of times by Bridgmohan. Lenaro, ridden by John McKee, finished five lengths behind the runner-up in third.

"Going three-quarters here, breaking from the one hole, is always a concern and it looked like she was just a bit cautious there," said Asmussen. "When he (Bridgmohan) looks up, he's sixth. Not a long ways off of it but a lot of traffic. Between horses he said she got a little too aggressive around the turn, but came out and made a nice run."

The second choice, Richwoman paid $5.20, $2.60, and $2.10. Chagall, who was coming off a 1 1/2-length victory in her maiden special weight debut, returned $2.40 and $2.10. Lenaro, another maiden debut winner, was $2.60 to show.

"Around the turn she got aggressive when the other riders started to make their move," said Bridgmohan. "I just had to wait for a seam to open up and once I did, and was able to get her to the outside, she just did what she had to do."

"She broke good and was in good position, and at the quarter pole when I thought my horse wanted to run, I let her go at the quarter pole," said Bejarano of Chagall. "She was feeling good, but the other horse came from behind really good too."

Gallant Dreamer finished fourth, followed by Come Together and Beautiful Venue. Seaside Affair scratched.

(Chart, Equibase)