Juddmonte Farms' odds-on favorite Intercontinental remained undefeated in three tries on the Keeneland grass course with a workmanlike triumph in the $400,000 WinStar Galaxy (gr. IIT) at one mile for fillies and mares Sunday.
The Bobby Frankel-trained 5-year-old Danehill mare established an easy pace in the WinStar Galaxy, which was shortened from 1 3/16 miles this year, and spurted away in the stretch under right-handed urging from jockey Jerry Bailey. The final time was 1:37 2/5 on a track listed as "firm."
"She was more relaxed today because she broke sharply," Frankel said. "She's a great filly. If she would have run all her races like this, she would be undefeated. We may run her through the Matriarch (at Hollywood Park this fall) but we'll have to wait and see."
Intercontinental can be a handful, but Bailey said she caused no problems this time.
"She's breaking better and that's made a big difference," he said. "I thought I could be on the lead if I wanted to. She was the class of the field."
It was the eighth graded stakes victory at Keeneland for Juddmonte Farms, earning Prince Khalid Abdullah's stable a gold serving tray as part of the track's unique trophy program.
Wend, severely wide around the course under John Velazquez, nevertheless closed with interest to finish second, three-quarters of a length behind the winner.
"She broke awkwardly and that was too much to overcome to pass the winner," Velazquez said.
It was another three-quarters of a length back to Katdogawn and Robby Albarado, who challenged Intercontinental in the stretch but came up short.
"She did everything I asked of her," Albarado said. "She was just no match for the winner."
The English-bred Intercontinental picked up her 12th career win in 21 lifetime starts and improved to four victories in six starts this year. She now owns back-to-back grade II wins, having taken the Palomar Handicap (gr. IIT) at Del Mar in her last outing on Sept. 3. Previously at Keeneland, Intercontinental has won the last two editions of the Jenny Wiley (gr. IIIT) on the grass. Intercontinental earned $248,000 for the victory and has now banked $1,501,263.
Shaconage broke best for David Flores but soon gave way to Intercontinental, who covered the opening quarter mile in a comfortable :24 3/5, then opened up a 1 1/2-length lead over La Reina and Shaconage after a half-mile in a smooth :48 4/5. Intercontinental got a breather on the far turn and had plenty left when the British-bred Katdogawn loomed into contention in the stretch. Wend, closing on the outside, wasn't able to make an impact on the winner until it was too late. La Reina, who launched her bid near the quarter pole and fell back, held on for fourth.
The 4-5 pick in the field of nine, Intercontinental paid $3.60, $2.20, and $2.20.
Wend, the second choice who won the New York Handicap at Belmont Park in July, returned $3.20 and $4.40.
Katdogawn was $6.60 to show.
Wally Dollase said this was probably the final race for Katdogawn before the 5-year-old Bahharemare goes to the Keeneland November sale. The multiple graded stakes winner has a record of 7-7-6 in 31 starts.
"She is easily the smallest stakes filly I've ever trained, but she has a lot of class and always showed up and ran her race," Dollase said.
La Reina was followed by Very Very, River Belle, Shaconage, Ticker Tape, and Pretty Jane.