Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables and Bethlehem Stables' A Raving Beauty got back to the winner's circle for the first time since June in Saturday's G1 First Lady Stakes at Keeneland, earning an expenses-paid berth to the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf in the process. The 5-year-old daughter of Mastercraftsman, ridden by John Velazquez for trainer Chad Brown, was sent off at odds of 3-1. She broke sharply and went straight to the lead, hanging on by a head over Dona Bruja at the wire to complete the mile over “good” turf in 1:37.78.
“(A Raving Beauty) took advantage of the inside post and just took control of the race,” Brown said from New York. “I think given last time the way she fought [the rider] in the pocket, it made sense to give her a clear run today. The idea was to try and get to the lead if we could. It would either be her or Quidura (GB).”
The 8-5 favorite Quidura, also trained by Brown, finished off the board.
Insta Erma at the rail went to her knees leaving the starting gate, but jockey Tyler Gaffalione managed to hold on and the filly recovered. Meanwhile, A Raving Beauty was quick out of the starting gate for Velazquez, and only received mild pressure from Valadorna to set fractions of :24.40 and :49.11 down the backstretch.
A Raving Beauty began to pull away around the far turn, leading Valadorna by a length, and was hard-ridden in the final 100 yards to hold off the late rush of Dona Bruja by a head on the wire. Dona Bruja had to settle for second, while Indian Blessing got up for third over Crown Walk.
“I thought it worked out pretty good,” Velazquez said. “Obviously being on the inside (from post two) we wanted to be close and wanted to make sure she was settling. We came out running, got our position and after that it was pretty good.”
Bred in Germany by Gestut Karlshof, A Raving Beauty was Group 1-placed in Europe but got her first G1 win in the U.S. in the Longines Just A Game. She struggled in her subsequent two starts, finishing third and fourth, respectively, in the Diana and Ballston Spa, but made it back on top in the First Lady to improve her overall record to 6-3-3 from 22 starts and earnings of over $1 million.
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