Romantic Vision wins the Locust Grove Stakes Sept. 16

Romantic Vision wins the Locust Grove Stakes Sept. 16

Coady Photography

Romantic Vision Upsets Locust Grove

Lemon Drop Kid mare finished off the board in last two stakes tries.

Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. expertly guided Romantic Vision along the rail to victory in the $100,000 Locust Grove Stakes (G3) Sept. 16 at Churchill Downs

In the 1 1/16-mile test on the main track for fillies and mares, the G. Watts Humphrey Jr. homebred was able to outlast favorite Blue Prize and hit the wire 1 1/4 lengths in front for her first graded stakes score. 

"We just got a dream trip behind the speed," Hernandez Jr. said. "Looking at it on paper, if Brooklynsway got her own way, she could have carried (the lead through the entire race). 

"When the rail opened up she just responded perfectly and ran on well."

Out of the gate, Brooklynsway assumed the lead going into the first turn as Hernandez Jr. moved Romantic Vision, who broke from post 4, over toward the rail to race in fourth. Blue Prize and James Graham raced just to the outside of the leader in second and Mo d'Amour was third, outside of Romantic Vision, as the first quarter-mile went in :24.22. 

As the seven-horse field was moving up the backstretch, with a half-mile in :48.93, Romantic Vision inched up to close the distance between her and the leaders. Mo d'Amour started her three-wide move going into the second turn and Blue Prize took the lead from Brooklynsway, who faded. After six furlongs in 1:13.60, Mo d'Amour loomed boldly on the ouside of Blue Prize but it was Romantic Vision who grabbed the lead from the rail at the top of the stretch and charged forward to a clear victory. Blue Prize held the place while second-betting choice Tiger Moth ran on the far outside to get the show. Romantic Vision crossed the wire in 1:43.91 over the fast track.

Mo d'Amour, Fuhriously Kissed, Sweetgrass, and Brooklynsway completed the order of finish. 

Off at 10-1, the winner returned $23.60, $8.80, and $5.40 across the board. 

Now a graded stakes winner, the Rusty Arnold-trained Romantic Vision is also grade 1 placed as she finished second, 1 1/4 lengths back, to Big World in the La Troienne Presented by Spirited Funds (G1) at Churchill May 5. She started off the year with an allowance win at Keeneland and after the La Troienne, finished eighth and last in the Fleur de Lis Handicap (G2), and then stumbled and came home sixth in the Summer Colony Stakes at Saratoga Race Course Aug. 20. 

"She's just didn't run a step in the last race here in the summer (the Fleus de Lis). We don't know why. She fell on her head in Saratoga (in the Summer Colony Stakes), and she came back (Saturday) and ran a great trip," Arnold said. "Brian gets along with her so well and it really showed today."

The mare, who is out of the stakes-winning Giant's Causeway  mare Perfect for You, has a 5-4-2 record from 18 starts and earnings of $310,086. 

Video: Locust Grove S. (G3)