Trained by Tom Albertrani and ridden by Julien Leparoux, Better Lucky ran the mile on a turf course that was rated as firm in 1:39.78. It marked the fourth First Lady victory for Leparoux, who also won with Gorella (FR) in 2006, Forever Together in 2008 and Never Retreat in 2011.
Daisy Devine set the pace and led the field of eight through fractions of :24.19, :48.60 and 1:14.21. Leparoux had Better Lucky in fourth in the early going tracking behind Dayatthespa.
Turning for home, Dayatthespa cut the corner under John Velazquez and moved to the inside of Daisy Devine while Leparoux moved three wide. Daisy Devine quickly yielded to her challengers, who battled to the wire with Better Lucky prevailing.
The victory in the First Lady was worth $240,000 and increased Better Lucky's bankroll to $828,950 with a record of 13-5-2-4.
Better Lucky is a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Ghostzapper out of the Seeking the Gold mare Sahara Gold.
She returned $11.60, $5 and $3.40. Dayatthespa returned $4.20 and $3.20 with Daisy Devine finishing four lengths back and paying $3.40 to show under James Graham.
It was 7¼ lengths back to Miz Ida, who finished fourth and who was followed in order by Hungry Island, Say (IRE), Winding Way and Amazonas (IRE).
See the full chart here.
Quotes courtesy Keeneland
Jimmy Bell (president of Darley, representing winning owner Godolphin Racing LLC, lessee)
“Today she was ‘Better Lucky.' Last couple of times she's been a little unlucky, took wide trips and ran great races. We've been looking at this race for quite a while. Julien (Leparoux) gave her a great ride and (trainer) Tommy (Albertrani) had her to the minute tuned up. We were Better Lucky today and got it done.”
On avenging the loss to Dayatthespa in the 2012 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) at Keeneland; Better Lucky was third in that race
“They've been seeing a lot of each other. It's a lot of the same group and there's not a lot that separates them. Very, very strong group of fillies here, and we're very, very happy to win a race like this at Keeneland.”
Julien Leparoux (winning rider)
On whether he could see more than the fans saw while watching the race run during a downpour
“I'm telling you, I didn't see much either. My goggles all fogged up so it was not very easy to see on the backside. I tried to take them off and put them back on to see where I was. She took me into the race very nice. She fought back when Johnny (Velazquez on Dayatthespa) came back on the inside. She's a nice filly for sure.”
Pete Bradley (co-owner of runner-up and favorite Dayatthespa)
“What a game race she ran. She's a really good one. She got beat by a better horse today but she gutted it out all the way down (the stretch). We're pretty proud of her.”
On whether Dayatthespa will run in the Breeders' Cup World Championships
“We have to talk to (trainer) Chad (Brown). I doubt it, but it is not an impossibility. She has proven she deserves to be with this group.”
James Graham (rider of third-place finisher Daisy Devine)
“She ran great. She runs her race every time you lead her over. (The rain and wind) didn't bother her. She ran her butt off. She always does.”
Shaun Bridgmohan (rider of fourth-place finisher Miz Ida)
“(The rain) came down so hard I couldn't see anything. We turned for home, and I just pulled all the goggles off. I had no goggles. She tried. She managed to get fourth.”
Joe Bravo (rider of sixth-place finisher Say [IRE])
“Poor girl didn't know what she was in for when that monsoon storm hit her like that. I think it was just throwing her a lot for her first day (the First Lady marked her North American racing debut). The rainstorm had ‘em all. Couldn't see too much as it is and between the water, she was shaking her head a lot. (She was) confused I think.”
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