Stablemates Finish 1-2 in Red Camelia

Edited from track reports
Merry Mary bested stablemate Autobesarah for trainer John Taylor in the $100,000 Red Camelia Handicap for older Louisiana-bred fillies and mares on closing Sunday at Fair Grounds Race Course.

Destiny Calls and Vitamin Bag scrapped it out on the front end through a taxing six furlongs in 1:13.80, while Merry Mary enjoyed a dream trip on the rail, drafting just behind the first flight under jockey Gerard Melancon.

Destiny Calls, last year's winner of the Red Camelia, was able to shake off Vitamin Bag at the head on the lane, but the damage had already been done. Melancon switched out Merry Mary and collared a tiring Destiny Calls in midstretch to go on and post a length score over fast closing stablemate Autobesarah, who overtook a game Destiny Calls late by a neck.

"I let the pace go, and I put myself in the perfect spot," said Melancon. "When I called on her she gave me her all. I had the perfect trip."

Merry Mary returned and the runner-up each returned $12.20, $13.00, and $4.40 after the winner completed the Red Camelia distance of about one mile in 1:39.68 over a Stall-Wilson course listed as firm. Destiny Calls paid $2.40 for the show spot. 

"I have been training since 1985, and this is my biggest stakes win," said Taylor.

A 4-year-old daughter of Leestown, Merry Mary earned $60,000 for the win, boosting her career earnings to $199,079 for owner Forgreen Racing Stable LLC.

(Chart, Equibase)