Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables, Maurice Lagasse, Haras d'Etreham and Bethlehem Stables' Colonia earned her first graded stakes victory on Friday at Keeneland, weaving through traffic from the rear of the field to win the G3 Pin Oak Valley View Stakes by a half-length on the wire. The 3-year-old daughter of Champs Elysees, ridden by Joe Bravo for trainer Graham Motion, had to avoid trouble in late stretch when the filly at the rail, 3-1 second choice Daddy Is A Legend, panicked and broke through the inside rail near the eighth pole. Stewards posted the inquiry sign but ultimately took no action, declaring Colonia the official winner at odds of 7-1. She completed 1 1/16 miles over the firm turf in 1:45.98, finishing just ahead of 70-1 Get Explicit and 9-1 Cool Beans in second and third, respectively.
“The race really set up nice for us,” Bravo said. “It was just really unfortunate this (incident) happened in the last eighth. This filly is just so focused at the finish line that it didn't bother her a bit. She stayed focused all the way throughout.”
Jockey Manny Franco told TVG that Cool Beans and jockey Florent Geroux did nothing wrong in the stretch incident, reporting that his mount Daddy Is A Legend was just in tight and tried to jump the rail on her own. She actually bounced off the inside rail slightly earlier in the stretch as well, but recovered from that brush to continue up the inside. Both Daddy Is A Legend and her jockey appeared to be unharmed; Franco was never unseated, and the filly walked off the track under her own power.
Near the rear of the field in the early going, Bravo was characteristically patient with Colonia as she traveled in third-from-last position. On the front end, Cool Beans got away with very mild fractions of :24.35 and :50.06, and Daddy Is A Legend had a good position at the rail in sixth, just three lengths behind the leaders.
Rounding the far turn, Daddy Is A Legend was begging for racing room at the rail, and Colonia was well in the bridle, also on the inside. Daddy Is A Legend was in tight inside of Cool Beans and darted into the infield into the safety rail at the eighth pole. Conversely, Bravo angled out one path at the head of the lane, looked to go outside rivals, then bulled through between fillies with a powerful late kick to hit the wire a half-length in front. Get Explicit also came from off the pace to be up for second, just beating out Cool Beans in a photo finish. Mighty Scarlett finished fourth.
“I was worried when they went a half in :50,” said Motion. “I thought she had a lot to do. She has a tremendous turn of foot. Joe (Bravo) gave her a great ride. He was very patient.”
Bred in France by Haras d'Etreham and Gestut Zur Kuste Ag, Colonia began her career in her native country. She broke her maiden in her second start, and began her U.S. career in her sixth start in July of 2018. Colonia started out with a win in the listed Hatoof Stakes at Arlington Park, then finished fifth in the G1 Del Mar Oaks and third in the G2 Sands Point against a group of talented fillies and mares. Overall, Colonia's record stands at three wins and three thirds from nine starts, with earnings of over $220,000.
About the Mawsafe safety rail: Keeneland replaced its inside turf rail with a Mawsafe safety rail in 2016. The unique flexibility of the Mawsafe rail makes it safer than existing solid pipe construction for horse and rider. The major safety feature is the horizontal PVC rail that will absorb the impact of a horse and rider. The rail is designed to spring and bend similar to the ropes around a boxing ring, flexing under the weight of the horse to allow the rider to guide his mount back onto the turf course.
Central to the rail design are innovative “kick out” uprights. Each upright has a pivotal connection to the rail and a slip-free connec- tion to the base plate. The design allows the upright to swing away should a fallen rider hit it. Upon impact, several uprights can slip free without losing the integrity of the railing.
The rail's metal base is below ground level – another safety first – so neither horse nor jockey is in danger of striking steel at high speed.
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