Elusive Kate dueled favorite Sky Lantern from the start in the Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes (Eng-I) July 12 at Newmarket and prevailed by a neck over Great Britain's top 3-year-old filly after a stewards' inquiry.
Narrowly beaten by Giofra
in last year's Falmouth on soft ground, Elusive Kate took charge at the start in this year's edition and would not be denied despite hanging far left in the final furlong and forcing out Sky Lantern. Giofra could only manage third.
Elusive Kate's connections waited out a steward's inquiry. Sky Lantern's jockey, Richard Hughes, claimed that the winner cost his mount the race when she drifted out, carrying Sky Lantern with her to the center of the July Course and then to the far side. The claim was disallowed and the result stood.
The race attracted only four runners. Sky Lantern was the 4-7 favorite off wins in the QIPCO One Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) and Coronation Stakes (Eng-I), but faced older runners for the first time.
Elusive Kate, the 3-1 second favorite, was a group I winner at 2 and 3. She entered off a fourth to Declaration of War
when facing males in the Queen Anne Stakes (Eng-I) June 18 at Royal Ascot in her 2013 bow. Trainer John Gosden expected the filly to be sharp for the Falmouth, and she was.
Taking immediate control under William Buick, Elusive Kate held on to her advantage from Sky Lantern for her third group I win.
Elusive Kate was timed in 1:40.54 on turf rated as good to firm.
Sky Lantern outfinished Giofra by two lengths for second in the short field. Purr Along
, at 22-1 odds, finished last, 1 1/2 lengths behind 5-1 shot Giofra.
Campaigned by Teruya Yoshida, Elusive Kate improved her record to six wins, two seconds, and two thirds from 13 career starts.
As a 2-year-old, Elusive Kate won the Total Prix Marcel Boussac-Criterium des Pouliches (Fr-I) en route to the Cartier Award as Europe's champion juvenile filly. She won or placed in all five starts as a 3-year-old in 2012, winning the Prix Rothschild (Fr-I) and finishing second or third in four other group I races in England and France, including last year's Falmouth.
Buick said Elusive Kate won this year's Falmouth "fair and square", although she has a penchant for drifting out.
"She's done it all her life," he told Racing Post. "When she won the Marcel Boussac as a 2-year-old she ended up on the far rail, which is a long way at Longchamp."
Bred in Kentucky by Clovelly Farms, Elusive Kate was a $70,000 purchase by Blandford Bloodstock at the 2010 Keeneland September yearling sale. She was raced by Gosden's wife, Rachel Hood, and Robert and Janice McNair's Magnolia Racing until Yoshida bought her prior to her eighth-place finish in the 2011 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. IT).
Elusive Kate is by Elusive Quality
, a leading sire who stands in Kentucky for Darley. She is out of the winning Lemon Drop Kid
mare Gout De Terroir
, a half sister to multiple grade/group I winner and sire Pleasantly Perfect
. Second dam Regal State
won the 1985 Prix Morny (Fr-I).