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Better Lucky Happy Following First Lady

Godolphin Racing LLC’s Better Lucky held firm in a driving rain to emerge victorious in Saturday’s First Lady (G1) and came out of the race in good order, assistant trainer Josh Flores said. She will return to New York on Tuesday, where trainer Tom Albertrani will begin mapping out a plan for her next race.

“She’s happy as ever and pretty content,” Flores said about the 4-year-old Kentucky-bred Ghostzapper filly on Sunday morning. “I think she knows she won. She ate up everything last night. She seems happy.”

Ridden by Julien Leparaoux, Better Lucky was tucked in fourth place behind favorite Dayatthespa in the early going while Daisy Devine set the pace. Better Lucky moved three wide off the turn then held off Dayatthespa through the stretch to win.

“(The race unfolded) just like we thought it would,” Flores said. “We figured those three horses outside of us would get the jump on us early and then we’d be in the garden spot. Luckily that’s how it panned out and Julien gave us a great ride and it all worked out. She ran huge. Dayatthespa came at her midway through the stretch but she battled back and toughed it out.”

Torrential rain began falling at Keeneland about 20 minutes before post time and was so heavy during the race that Albertrani, who was watching from Belmont Park, couldn’t get a clear view on television. However, Keeneland’s in-house HD cameras and television allowed Flores to keep a keen eye on Better Lucky.

“It’s been awhile (since I’ve seen conditions like that),” Flores said. “Thank God for the HD cameras here at Keeneland. I had people calling from Belmont saying they couldn’t see anything.”

The connections of Dayatthespa were extremely pleased with the filly’s effort. Co-owner Pete Bradley Tweeted: “So proud of our girl! She ran her heart out to finish such a game 2nd in the pouring rain. Better Lucky is one nice filly.”

Bradley’s Bradley Thoroughbreds owns Dayatthespa with Jerry Frankel, Ron Frankel and Steve Laymon. The filly is trained by Chad Brown, whose Keeneland assistant, Baldo Hernandez, reported she was well on Sunday morning and would return to New York on Thursday.

Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor’s Say (IRE), sixth as the second choice in the First Lady, has an invitation to run back Saturday in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) against 3-year-old fillies.

“We should know much more today (about the QE II),” said T.J. Comerford, head traveling lad for trainer Aidan O’Brien. “She will go back to the track for light exercise tomorrow. I don’t think she ran too bad. I just think she needs firm ground like her mother (Riskaverse, the winner of the 2002 QE II).”




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