It took Ken and Sarah Ramsey's 5-year-old mare Al's Gal 26 starts to earn her first graded win, but it was a whopper Oct. 16 at Woodbine.
The daughter of English Channel trained by Mike Maker was part of a cavalry charge to the wire in the final stages of the $500,000 E. P. Taylor Stakes (Can-IT) and just got to the wire first by a head bob over Suffused to win the 1 1/4-mile turf event in a final time of 2:01.60.
Every filly or mare in the field of 12 was within five lengths at the wire, the top seven were within two lengths, and the superfecta was separated by three-quarters of a length.
Al's Gal stalked early leader Parvaneh in second as the fractions through six furlongs went in :26.05, :49.83, and 1:13.75, and was still a half-length behind the front-runner as the mile went in 1:37.93. Al's Gal had a half-length advantage with a furlong to run, as a host of contenders loomed to her outside, but dug in late under jockey Florent Geroux.
“There was no traffic for me today,” Geroux said. “When we broke from the gate, I was right there, (in) second position all the way and when I asked her turning from home, she just gave me a nice turn of foot and was very brave. I don’t have any game plan, especially with horses like this, who are very manageable and have tactical speed.”
Banzari closed from sixth to pick up the show placing, followed by Guapaza, Rainha Da Bateria, Swiss Range, Nezwaah, Parvaneh, Tuttipaesi, Strut the Course, Aim to Please, and favored Best In The World, to complete the order of finish.
The winner paid $14.30, $6.90, and $4.50 across the board. Suffused brought $7.70 and $5.60, while Banzari delivered $10.40 to show.
A two-time stakes winner, including a last-out score in the Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon Sept. 15, Al's Gal had been knocking on the door in the graded ranks with seconds in the Beverly D. (gr. IT), Modesty (gr. IIIT), and Bewitch (gr. IIIT) this year.
Bred in Pennsylvania by Malone Racing, out of the Winning mare Dans La Ville, Al's Gal has an 8-8-3 record and $749,775 in earnings.