Far back in the early going, Uni made an electrifying stretch run under Joel Rosario to win Saturday's $400,000, Grade 1 First Lady Stakes at Keeneland , drawing off to win by 2 1/2 lengths and setting a new course record of 1:32.87 for a mile on turf. Juliet Foxtrot, who moved to the lead at the top of the stretch under Florent Geroux, finished second, 1 1/4 lengths ahead of West Coast invader Vasilika. Rushing Fall, the 13-10 favorite and a Chad Brown-trained stablemate of Uni, finished fourth in the field 13 fillies and mares.
Uni paid $8 to win, the ninth career victory from 17 starts for the 5-year-old More Than Ready mare bred in Great Britain and raced in France before coming to the United States in 2017. Uni races for a partnership of Michael Dubb, Head of Plains Parners, Robert LaPenta and Bethlehem Stables.
The First Lady is a Breeders' Cup Challenge Series race Win and You're In Race for the Filly & Mare Turf division but Uni is not currently nominated to the Breeders' Cup. Her connections would need to pay a nomination fee of $100,000 to make her eligible.
Ms Bad Behavior, coming off a front-running G3 victory at Kentucky Downs for trainer Richard Baltas, darted to the lead and set fast fractions of :22.71, :45.40 and 1:09.47 for the opening six furlongs before fading to 10th under Jose Ortiz.
Uni was 11th and saving ground early, then swung wide at the top of the stretch and turned in a devastating turn of foot as the early fractions took their toll on those chasing Ms Bad Behavior early. She overtook Juliet Foxtrot in the final furlong and was drawing away at the finish.
“In the first turn, it looked like they were going pretty good speed, and I just followed Rushing Fall,” said Rosario. “(Uni) came with a nice run like she always does. She's unbelievable. She has a long stride and she just kept coming and coming.”
“It's another addition to her tremendous career as a miler,” said Whit Beckman, assistant to Chad Brown of Uni. “She's real solid when she's put at this distance and she's gone to multiple tracks and has shown that kick.”
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