Ridden perfectly by jockey Joe Bravo, the 8-5 favorite Lady Prancealot delivered a big performance in Saturday's Grade 1 American Oaks at Santa Anita Park. The 3-year-old daughter of Sir Prancealot was well off the pace early, found room at the rail in mid-stretch and gamely fought off Mucho Unusual for a half-length victory at the wire. Trained by Richard Baltas, Lady Prancealot ran 1 1/4 miles over the “good” turf in 2:01.70.
“I was just glad to be sitting on Lady Prancealot this afternoon,” Bravo said. “I take my hat off to Richard and his team. She was so relaxed post break, so turned off and relaxed like she had full control over the whole race. All I had to do was point her to the hole turning for home and she took me through. She made my job easy. If she was a fat horse she would have never made it.”
Taken in hand by Bravo early, Lady Prancealot was full of run at the rail while a close sixth as the field went under the wire in the first run by the Grandstand. With longshot So Much Happy carving out legitimate fractions for the conditions, Bravo had a ton of horse under him as the field straightened up for the stretch run, at which point he was able to split horses and out-run a gallant Mucho Unusual, who had a similar trip under Joel Rosario.
A three quarter length winner of the Grade III, 1 1/16 mile turf Valley View Stakes at Keeneland Oct. 18, Lady Prancealot was off as the 8-5 favorite in a field of eight sophomore fillies and paid $5.20, $3.00 and $2.40.
“This filly came over here from Europe and the first time she worked she had an issue and we gave her a bunch of time,” Baltas said. “We thought we bought a bad horse but we didn't. She has been ultra-consistent. I want to give a hats off to the guys at San Luis Rey Downs, my assistant trainer who has had her there most of the time. 'Jersey Joe' rode an awesome race and we are all happy now.”
Owned by Jules Iavarone, Michael Iavarone and Jerry McClanahan, Lady Prancealot picked up $180,000 for the win, increasing her earnings to $547,841. With her first Grade I victory in hand and her third graded stakes victory, Lady Prancealot is now 17-5-4-3 overall.
Mucho Unusual, one of two California-breds in the field, was off at 3-1 and paid $4.00 and $3.20.
Pretty Point, who was off at 24-1 with Mike Smith, paid $5.80 to show.
Fractions on the race were 24.45, 48.67, 1:13.80 and 1:37.96.
Bred in Ireland by Tally Ho Stud, Lady Prancealot is out of the Haatef mare Naqrah. After beginning her career with five starts in Europe, the filly was transferred to the United States where she immediately placed in a pair of listed stakes races. She won a pair of Grade 3 races this season, and the American Oaks is her first Grade 1 win.
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