Lilah Takes Maragh to First Graded Win

(from Gulfstream report)
Hobeau Farm's 8-year-old mare Lilah carried apprentice Rajiv Maragh to his first graded-stakes victory Sunday in a front-running three-length victory in the $100,000 Hurricane Bertie Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park.

In winning the 6 1/2-furlong test, Lilah joined Spirit of Fighter as the oldest mare to win a graded stakes at Gulfstream Park. Spirit of Fighter's achievement came in the 1991 running of The First Lady Handicap (gr. III).

Sir Bear, a gelding, was 9 when he became the oldest stakes winner at Gulfstream in the 2002 Skip Away Handicap (gr. III).

"It's amazing for her to be this good at that age," said winning trainer Allen Jerkens. "Every time we'd try her in a stakes something would go wrong. She'd get hung outside or stuck inside and couldn't get out or she just didn't feel like doing anything sometimes. It was surprising to see her up there. Normally, she'd come from off it."

Lilah, who paid $14, $7.60 and $3, set the pace (:22.33, :44.79, 1:08.98) throughout under Maragh, a 19-year-old native of Kingston, Jamaica, who was born into a racing family. His mother, Jean, owns horses and his father, Collin, trains them. Lilah was Maragh's third winner of the day.

"She runs all the way, from right out of the gate," Maragh said. "She never gives me any problems. We get along good. She's a very easy horse to ride and she tries hard every time. This (stakes win) feels good."

Lilah, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Defrere, has won 11 of 31 starts and earned $400,655.

Forty Moves ($4.40, $2.80), who challenged the leader in the stretch with Eibar Coa aboard, was second, and Molto Vita ($2.60), ridden by Jerry Bailey, third.

Bohemian Lady, the slight 8-5 choice over Molto Vita, finished fourth, with Expect an Angel and Brunilda trailing.

(Chart, Equibase)