Team Valor International's Oleksandra (AUS) found racing room between Morticia and the pacesetting Girls Know Best in deep stretch and went on to win the 23rd running of the $150,000 Buffalo Trace Franklin County (G3) for fillies and mares by two lengths over Morticia before a Friday afternoon crowd of 19,026 at Keeneland.
Trained by Neil Drysdale and ridden by Joel Rosario, Oleksandra covered the 5½ furlongs on a firm turf course in 1:01.79.
Rosario, won his third graded stakes through the first six days of the Fall Meet, recorded his third victory in the Buffalo Trace Franklin County. He also won with Free as a Bird in 2014 and Miss Ella in 2016.
Girls Know Best rocketed out of the gate and established a clear lead with Morticia in closest pursuit through fractions of :21.73 and :44.17 as Oleksandra received a ground-saving trip along the rail.
In the stretch, Oleksandra angled off the rail inside the sixteenth pole, drove between the leaders in deep stretch and went on to the victory.
The victory was worth $90,000 and increased Oleksandra's earnings to $359,853 with a record of 13-6-2-3. It is the first graded stakes victory for the 5-year-old daughter of Animal Kingdom out of the Caesour mare Alexandra Rose (SAF).
Morticia, the 2017 Buffalo Trace Franklin County winner, picked up $30,000 for running second and boosted her earnings to $1,019,669
Sent off as the slight favorite in the field of 10, Oleksandra returned $7, $3.60 and $2.40. Morticia, ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, returned $4 and $2.60 and finished a neck in front of Girls Know Best who paid $2.80 to show under Corey Lanerie.
It was another 1¼ lengths back to A Little Bit Me, who was followed in order by Violent Times, Painting Corners, Ruby Notion, Miss Gossip (IRE), Beechwood Ella (IRE) and Take These Chains (IRE).
Racing continues Saturday with a 10-race program beginning at 1:05 p.m. ET that features the 36th running of the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Presented by Lane's End (G1) for 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/8 miles on the turf. The QE II will go as the afternoon's ninth race with a 5:30 p.m. post time.
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