Top Notch Lady Claims Bourbonette in Snow

Canadian invader Top Notch Lady brought the snow with her Saturday at Turfway Park and came away with an upset victory in the $150,000 Bourbonette Breeders' Cup (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies.

Ridden by Robby Albarado for trainer Mark Casse and owner Robert J. Wilson in a driving snow, Top Notch Lady overcame a wide trip to wear down Coronado's Vision in the final strides to win the one-mile event by a neck at odds of 7-1. Lemons Forever took third, three-quarters of a length behind Coronado's Vision, with 6-5 choice Sabatini finishing fourth, another three-quarters of length behind. The time was 1:39 on the all-weather track.

"She got over the track great," Albarado said. "When I asked her, she really responded. She is a really nice filly."

Grade II winner Dance Daily was scratched.

The Kentucky-bred daughter of Sultry Song-Ocean Breeze (Blade) had made all of her previous starts at Woodbine, where she was 3-2-0 in six starts last year. She was twice placed in graded races in Canada and won the Glorious Song in her most recent start Nov. 20. She earned $93,000, boosting her bankroll to $312,678.

Casse said Top Notch Lady benefited from an early shipping and the opportunity to work on the Polytrack.

"I wasn't too concerned about her running off the layoff," he said. "I told Mr. Wilson that she likes the Polytrack and, if she gets beat, it's not because she's short. She will likely return to Canada for her next start."

Breaking from the far outside in the field of nine, Top Notch Lady raced five wide on the clubhouse turn as Morethanawhisper led through an opening quarter mile of :23 1/5. Top Notch Lady continued her wide journey into the far turn as Coronado's Vision and Edgar Prado assumed the lead, moving with Champagne N Glory as they approached the half-mile in :47. Coronado's Vision clung to her on the inside until deep stretch, clicking off six furlongs in 1:12 3/5 while leading by 1 1/2 lengths.

Top Notch Lady took one crack at Coronado's Quest in the stretch and fell back, only to come on again in the final furlong.

She paid $16.80, $6.20, and $4.60. Coronado's Vision returned $5.20 and $5. The late running Lemons Forever was $5.40 to show with David Flores aboard.

Sabatini made a move on the final turn but came up short. Trainer Patrick Biancone said she is probably better as a sprinter.

"She closed ground but flattened out near the finish," said her jockey, Julien Leparoux. "I lost my whip at the quarter pole. I don't think that cost us the win, but it may have cost us a placing. We're happy with her race, though. She took to the track well. The conditions weren't great, but they were the same for everybody."

After Sabatini came Capozzene, Classical Ryder, Champagne N Glory, Morethanawhisper, and Lady Danza.

(Chart, Equibase)