Living The Life, off the pace early, burst from the pack in the final sixteenth and steadily closed in on Sarah Sis, coming tantalizingly close to a third straight win, but she was denied by just a head.
Trained by Ingrid Mason for owner Joe Ragsdale, Sarah Sis added a fifth graded win to her record and second victory from eight starts this year after taking the Chicago Handicap (gr. III) July 27 at Arlington International Racecourse three starts back. The 4-year-old Sharp Humor filly entered off a ninth-place finish against top-flight company at Saratoga Race Course in the Ballerina Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 27 but rebounded emphatically Monday evening when Florent Geroux fired her from the gate.
"She broke very sharply; the first quarter was slow but she pricked her ears," Geroux said of Sarah Sis, who at 10-1 odds went on to finish 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.42 on the all-weather track.
With Unbridled Courage pressing about a head back, Disco Barbie and Birdatthewire close up, and Living The Life midpack in sixth, Sarah Sis clocked the opening quarter in :23.89 and a quicker half mile in :46.66. Entering the lane, she had a narrow advantage over Birdatthewire while Living The Life split rivals four wide with Corey Lanerie and took aim on the front-runner.
Opening up by two lengths, Sarah Sis had to call upon all her reserves as Living the Life closed in but just missed.
Birdatthewire, the favorite, tired in upper stretch before finishing eighth, while Bar of Gold got up for third, a half length behind Living The Life.
Sarah Sis paid $22.20, $10, and $7, Living The Life returned $5.40 and $3.60, and Bar of Gold paid $6.20 to show.
Sarah Sis was bred in Kentucky by veterinarian Catherine Rene White from the winning Gilded Time mare Emerald Gal, whose dam is a half sister to graded winner and millionaire Isitingood. Ragsdale bought the filly from Doble Jack, agent, for $20,000 at the 2014 Ocala Breeders' Sale Co. June sale of 2-year-olds in training and she has since earned $911,000.
Offered though agent Lane's End at the 2015 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November sale, she did not reach her reserve price on a final bid of $1.2 million.
Sarah Sis has an 8-4-0 record from 21 career starts that includes three other graded wins, all in 2015: the Lexus Raven Run (gr. II), Iowa Oaks (gr. III), and Honeybee Stakes (gr. III).
Elusive Collection was fourth in the Masters, followed by Cactus Kris, Regia Marina, Meshell, Birdatthewire, Unbridled Courage, Cactus Copy, and Disco Barbie to complete the order of finish.