Lu Ravi fell just short of attaining her grade I goal when she finished second to Gourmet Girl in the April 8 Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) at Oaklawn Park. Now with $1,819,781 in earnings, eight stakes wins, and three second-place finishes in grade I races, trainer Carl Bowman and owner Yoshio Fujita have retired the 6-year-old mare.
"She really doesn't have anything to prove," Bowman said. "She's one of the best fillies in the country. Maybe this way I'll get a Derby winner out of her a year earlier."
Lu Ravi has already been sent to Ashview Farm near Versailles, Ky., and is scheduled to be bred to Storm Cat.
Bowman saddled the big bay mare for all 26 of her starts. Along the way she became a favorite of his. He spent a week in Hot Springs readying her for the Apple Blossom. Unfortunately, the day before the race she got rattled by another horse during her morning gallop, took off, and tied up as a result. Whether or not it cost her the grade I she and her connections were hoping for isn't for sure, but it provided a good reason for anything other than a first-place finish. Lu Ravi retires completely sound.
Wayne Lyster III bred Lu Ravi (A.P. Indy -- At the Half, by Seeking the Gold) in Kentucky and sold her privately to Fujita. The owner named her after a children's store he and his wife, Miyoko, visited in Germany. Lyster, who owns Ashview, advises Fujita in his bloodstock purchases, and recommended he send this filly to Bowman. The trainer still has stakes winner Maltese Superb for Fujita.
Lu Ravi is the first foal from At the Half. The mare won the 1993 Golden Rod Stakes (gr. III) for Lyster, partner Robert Crabtree, and Bowman. The year after she produced Lu Ravi, Lyster sold At the Half to William S. Farish for $950,000 at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale. She has since produced four foals for him and the W.S. Kilroy partnership, two by A.P. Indy and two by Storm Cat.
In her 26 starts, Lu Ravi finished worse than third only four times. Her first added-money win was in the 1998 Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. III) which she won by 1 1/2 lengths over eventual grade I winner Well Chosen. Later that year Lu Ravi ran second to Banshee Breeze in the grade I Alabama, then beat grade I winner Sister Act in the Cotillion Handicap (gr. II).
In the last three years Lu Ravi has won the Chou Croute Stakes twice (1999, 2001), finished second twice to multiple grade I winner Heritage of Gold in the Oaklawn Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. III, 2000, 2001), and beat champion Silverbulletday twice in a row, in the 2000 Molly Pitcher Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr .II) and the Delaware Handicap (gr. III). Her last 19 starts were all stakes races where she competed against her division's top runners including: Gourmet Girl, Manistique, Riboletta, Sister Act, Spain, Surfside, and Tap to Music.