Better Lucky, last by more than a dozen lengths after a half-mile, came flying down the stretch to catch Grace Hall at the finish to win the $100,000 Shine Again Stakes (VIDEO) by a head at Saratoga Race Course July 21.
Grace Hall finished second, a half-length in front of My Miss Aurelia, the 2011 champion 2-year-old filly who was making her first start in more than 16 months. Pacesetter Bridgehampton finished another length back in fourth. The field was diminished by the scratches of Angel's Glory and Toasting.
Trained by Tom Albertrani for Godolphin Racing, Better Lucky ran seven furlongs in 1:22.56 on a fast main track and paid $12.20 to win. The daughter of Ghostzapper has six wins and eight placings and earned $993,950 in 17 lifetime starts.
Bridgehampton zipped through a quarter-mile in :22.74 and a half-mile in :44.62 and was still leading after completing six furlongs in a sizzling 1:08.94 before the rest began to close in.
Jockey Javier Castellano swung Better Lucky outside, and she gained steadily in the stretch to catch Grace Hall for her third win on dirt in her sixth career start on that surface. Her last victory came in the First Lady (gr. IT) on the Keeneland turf course last October.
Grace Hall, who raced in tight and bumped with My Miss Aurelia near the eighth-pole, has now finished second in all three 2014 starts. "I think she was the best horse in the race," Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott said. "She was bothered at the three-sixteenths pole and had to come out of there and go around, and she had to alter course at the eighth-pole."
My Miss Aurelia, unraced since finishing third in the Azeri Stakes (gr. III) for trainer Steve Asmussen in March 2013, was making her first start for trainer Todd Pletcher.
"I thought she ran very well," Pletcher said. "She hadn't run in a long time, and she fought hard and just got a little tired in the last hundred yards. I think she showed a lot of try."