Cole Norman earned his third stakes win of the day and swept both graded stakes events on the Lone Star Million program when Eagle Lake wired the field in Monday's $300,000 WinStar Distaff (gr. III). The 5-year-old mare was allowed to set comfortable fractions while loose on the lead, crossing the finish line 2 ¼ lengths ahead of California invader Little Treasure. "I had everything my way, I really did," said Gerard Melancon, who rode Eagle Lake for owners Turf Express Inc. "Past the quarter pole I still heard nobody. I just kept sitting on her and I knew as soon as I'd move a little bit on her she would give me what she had."In her previous race, Eagle Lake finished second May 2 in an allowance to graded stakes winner Bien Nicole, who went favored in the WinStar."She just never did fire," said Don Pettinger, who has ridden Bien Nicole to six stakes wins. "I didn't think I could find a surface she wouldn't like, but I did today."Eagle Lake traipsed over the "soft" turf course in fractional times
of :24.04 for the opening quarter-mile, :49.48 for the half-mile and 1:15.85 for six furlongs. Eagle Lake stopped the timer in 1:43.02 for the one-mile race.Runner-up Little Treasure followed in second the entire race, but was no match for the winner.Second wagering choice Magic Mission finished third, three-quarters of a length behind Little Treasure. Bien Nicole was sixth with Garden in the Rain eighth in the field of nine.
The winner paid $18 as the 8-1 fifth choice. The $120,000 winner's share of the purse boosted Eagle Lake's career earnings to $391,143. (Chart, Equibase)