Jockey Pat Day and Mayo On the Side skimmed the rail to take the lead in midstretch and pulled away to a two-length victory in the $100,000 Doubledogdare Stakes at Keeneland Friday afternoon. It marked the second win from three career starts at Keeneland for Mayo On the Side, a 5-year-old bay daughter of French Deputy.
Final time for the 1 1/16th-mile Doubledogdare, for fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and up, was 1:43 4/5.
Cat Fighter, who battled for the early lead most of the way, held for second. Favorite Roar Emotion, who had tracked the early pace, finished third, with Saintly Action fourth.
My Trusty Cat and Salty Farma were scratched, leaving a field of nine in the race.
Mayo On the Side, owned by the Lothenbach Stables, is trained by Carl Nafzger. Bred by Robert Lothenbach, Mayo On the Side is out of the Slew o' Gold mare Slewveau.
"I told Pat to take her wide," Nafzger said. "That goes to show how much we know."
Roar Emotion, breaking from post seven, was hustled out of the gate, but it was Zawzooth and Cat Fighter who dueled for the early lead around the first turn and into the backstretch. Zawzooth held the lead down the backstretch with Cat Fighter to her inside and Roar Emotion tracking outside in third. The opening half went in :47.63; six furlongs in 1:12.55.
On the final turn, Zawzooth gave up the chase, handing the lead to Cat Fighter with Roar Emotion, under John Velazquez, swinging out to challenge. Saintly Action, under Jerry Bailey made a bold move on the turn, but flattened out in the stretch.
Day, the first two-time winner of the Doubledogdare, kept Mayo On the Side on the inside, found a seam inside of Cat Fighter and snatched the lead before pulling away in the final 100 yards.
"She was game as hell," Day said. "We talked about making a big run and keeping her outside but I could never get out. When the hole opened up, she excelled nicely. It's very exciting as a rider when something like that happens. You feel like a New York cab driver weaving your way through traffic. I'm just glad we got the job done."
Mayo On the Side paid $8.80, $4.20, and $2.40. The $2 exacta, with Cat Figher (5-2), was worth $37.20. The $2 trifecta (5-2-7), with Roar Emotion in the third spot, returned $92.