Ahh Chocolate, owned and bred by Stoneway Farm, earned her second graded stakes victory May 20 in the $150,000 Allaire DuPont Distaff Stakes presented by Maker's Mark at Pimlico Race Course.
Video: Allaire DuPont Distaff S. (G3)
The 4-year-old Candy Ride filly had started at Pimlico once before. She finished third in the Black-Eyed Susan (gr. II) Stakes.
Ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr. for trainer Neil Howard, Ahh Chocolate, who is out of the Saint Liam mare Ahh, got away in fourth early and gradually made up positions on the front-running Super Majesty. She took aim on the leader on the far turn of the 1 1/8-mile stakes for fillies and mares, took the lead in the final eighth of a mile, and held off Theogony to win by a half-length. The latter closed from ninth and last with a strong stretch run.
Joint Return rallied for third, while Super Majesty faded late to finish fourth.
The fractions for the Allaire DuPont were :23.80 for the opening quarter-mile, :48.75 for a half-mile, 1:12.98 for six furlongs, and 1:38.01 for one mile. Ahh Chocolate's final time was 1:50.82 on a track rated fast.
Kentucky-bred Ahh Chocolate paid $9 to win. Her biggest score to date came last year in the grade II Falls City Handicap at Churchill Downs.
"I was thrilled," Howard said. "She's such a nice filly. All of these races are so damned tough. It was an honest pace, and she really dug down deep in the stretch. You've got to give it to Stoneway (Farm). That's what they do—breed and race these kinds of horses. I'm glad to win a maiden race—any race—so this is great. She's pretty consistent."
Hernandez said Ahh Chocolate capitalized on an excellent trip.
"She left there on the button today and put us where we needed to be," he said. "I got a little nervous going around the second turn, but when I nudged on my filly she went after it really nicely and finished it off great."