The New York gate crew finessed the situation, but not before the German-bred mare sent a few kicks and some balking their way. And when the gates opened, A Raving Beauty broke with her ears pinned flat and her running shoes on.
The 5-year-old daughter of Mastercraftsman took down a grade 1 in just her second North American start for trainer Chad Brown and owners Michael Dubb, Sol Kumin (Madaket Stables), and Bethlehem Stables. With Irad Ortiz Jr. in the irons, A Raving Beauty ran the mile on firm turf in 1:32.14, holding off Proctor's Ledge by three-quarters of a length.
"She's a little quirky, as you can see, behind the gate," Brown said. "She didn't want to load. She can be a little headstrong ... and Irad used those good hands of his to really settle her down."
A Raving Beauty raced 2 1/2 lengths off the pace in third as Lull, pressed by La Coronel, ran the opening quarter-mile in :23.34. After a half in :46.37 and three-quarters in 1:08.82, A Raving Beauty commenced her rally, easily overtaking the early leaders in midstretch and holding sway as Proctor's Ledge rallied to her inside. Proctor's Ledge finished a half-length in front of Lull, who held third by a neck over favored Off Limits. On Leave finished fifth and was followed by Dream Dancing, Cambodia, and La Coronel.
The 7-2 second choice, A Raving Beauty returned $9.30 for a $2 win wager. She is undefeated in both of her North American outings, after winning the May 12 Beaugay Stakes (G3T) at Belmont in her first stateside start. That effort came in her first start since Oct. 29 in Rome, when she put in a runner-up finish in the Premio Lydia Tesio (G1).
Mandore International Agency purchased A Raving Beauty in partnership with BSW Bloodstock for $264,915 at the 2017 Arqana December breeding stock sale, where she was consigned by Monceaux after making 17 starts in Europe, including a pair of stakes wins in Germany. She was bred by Gestut Karlshof out of the High Chaparral mare Anabasis and has a 5-3-2 record from 19 starts. The $375,000 winner's share of the Just a Game purse more than doubled her career earnings to $694,555.
"We took our time with her since she's come into the program, and she's really taken to the program well," Brown said. "I've been impressed with her development, and each of her works has gotten better. We showed a lot of confidence her first time in this country, putting her in a graded stakes last time, and she delivered and ran really well.
"Then to come around and come right back in a few short weeks and to be put in a grade 1, that's climbing the ladder pretty fast, given her previous form. She really responded, and I'm so impressed with the way she ran today."