With a last desperate surge on the far outside, 17-1 Runway Model emerged with a head victory over Sharp Lisa and In the Gold in a blanket finish to Friday's $400,000 Darley Alcibiades (gr. II) for 2-year-old fillies at Keeneland.
Ridden by substitute jockey Rafael Bejarano, Runway Model was sixth inside the eighth pole but finished with determination to gain a narrow victory. The time was 1:44 1/5 for the 1 1/16-mile event. Sharp Lisa nosed In the Gold for second with Dance Away Capote a half-length back in fourth.
Bejarano swept both grades stakes on the opening day Keeneland card. He partnered Champali to victory in the Phoenix Breeders Cup (gr. III) two races earlier.
"There was a lotta' speed in the race so I just sat there with a long hold," Bejarano said. "I checked to see how much horse I had at the three-eighths pole and I had plenty, so I decided to wait until the quarter pole to let her run. When I did, she really came running."
Sense of Style, the 3-5 favorite who was undefeated in three starts, including the Matron (gr. I) at Belmont Park Sept. 19, settled for fifth. Well-placed along the rail by Edgar Prado for most of the route, she lacked room coming off the far turn but did not respond when called upon, losing by just over two lengths.
"She handled everything beautifully but that horse stopped in front in me and that was it," Prado said.
Second choice Miss Matched set a solid pace of :22 3/5, :46 4/5 and 1:11 3/5 before fading in the stretch to finish sixth.
Runway Model, a dark bay daughter of Petionville
-Ticket to Houston (Houston), ran with Lasix for the first time for trainer Bernard Flint and owner Naveed Chowhan. She was coming off a second-place finish by two lengths to Culinary in the one-mile Arlington Washington Lassie (gr. III) Sept. 19. The victory was her first in a graded stakes.
Flint said he plans to take Runway Model to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) Oct. 30 at Lone Star Park.
She improved her career record to 3-2-1 in eight starts. The victory, worth $248,000, rocketed her career earnings to $337,050.
The seventh choice in the field of 10, she paid $36.40, $17.40 and $19.20. Sharp Lisa returned $11.20 and $16.80 while completing a $226 exacta. In the Gold was $15.60 to show. The trifecta was worth $6,863.80.
"It was her first time going two-turns and I think she ran great," said Corey Nakatani, who was aboard In the Gold. "The experience will definitely help her in the future."
Punch Appeal, Sweet Talker, Gallant Secret and Classic Elegance, who pulled up after six furlongs, completed the order.
Everest Stable Inc. bred Runway Model in Kentucky. She was a $260,000 Ocala sale in February.