Juddmonte Farms’ regally bred Deluxe outdueled Ravi’s Song to win the 38th running of the $109,900 Cardinal Handicap (Grade III) for fillies and mares by a half-length over the Matt Winn Turf Course.
Trained by Bill Mott, who saddled his sixth Cardinal winner, and ridden by Julien Leparoux, now a two-time Cardinal winner, Deluxe raced in mid-pack in the field of seven as Tapitsfly set fractions of :23.66, :47.60 and 1:11:57.
Leaving the far turn, Deluxe commenced a four-wide bid with Ravi’s Song and Corey Lanerie
just to her outside. The two swept past Tapitsfly at the eighth pole
with Deluxe gradually drawing clear of Ravi’s Song in the final 50
Deluxe, a 4-year-old daughter of Storm Cat out of the Kahyasi mare
Hasili, covered the 1 1/8 miles over firm ground in 1:50.53. Deluxe is a
half-sister to Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (GI) winners Banks Hill and Intercontinental.
The victory was worth $66,775 and increased Deluxe’s bankroll to $291,145 with a record of 9-4-2-0.
It was the third stakes victory of the weekend for Mott, who saddled Royal Delta to win the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (GI) on Friday and the Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) on Saturday with Drosselmeyer.
Sent off as the favorite, Deluxe returned $5, $3.20 and $2.60. Ravi’s
Song returned $3 and $2.60 in finishing two lengths in front of Kiss Mine, who paid $4.60 to show under Edgar Prado. Distorted Love finished fourth, followed in order by Tapitsfly, Mutually Benefit and A She’s Adorable.
In the race preceding the Cardinal, Lanerie became the 20th rider in Churchill Downs history to reach the 300-win plateau with a victory aboard Taptowne.
CARDINAL HANDICAP QUOTES
Bill Mott, trainer of Deluxe (winner) – “The
yielding turf last time (in the Grade I Flower Bowl at Belmont Park)
was a definite issue and she just didn’t handle it at all. The ground
was firm enough for her today to win this race. (The bloodlines) always
come out and she’s very well bred. If she stays in training the next
challenge would be to win a Grade I, but we’ll have a discussion about
Julien Leparoux, jockey of Deluxe (winner) – “She
really ran nice today and really fought at the end. Every time the other
horse (Ravi’s Song) came to her, she would fight her off. She ran big.”
Corey Lanerie, jockey of Ravi’s Song (runner-up) – “I had a perfect trip. I really thought I had her (Deluxe), but she just never let me by.”