Surprising to this writer that this three year old filly was let go at some 15-1 odds come post time, rider Gaffalione found his efforts at keeping this one focused right down to the wire a simple task indeed.
- Buffalo Trace Franklin County ( Gr. III ) – Purse $150.000
- Keeneland – Four Fillies & Mares Three Years old and up
- Five and one half furlongs- Turf course.
While the betting public chose to back inside runner Machined ( Team 7 Illusions ) making her the 7-2 post time favorite, John Henry’s recent purchase of Dodge Challenger did not disappoint on the day, returning two thirds of the money he paid out to obtain her. While the opening quarters went in a brisk 22 and two and another 22 and three, Gaffalione keep his mount not too far back, but just enough not to get caught up in a traffic jam.
Coming off the turn for home, Dodge Challenger was still not in the mix up front with the likes of Trust Me On This ( Mb Stables ) and Country Mission ( Allinthegate ) who took the lead at this point. She was still content to hang tight at the rail waiting to break free and charge. By the time she made the sixteenth pole, she was splitting the likes of Trust Me On This and early leader Dalitierri Girl ( Our Athletes.) and would charge on to capture the victory by three quarters of a length over another late charging runner.
The final time of 1:02.60 now sets a New Race Record for this event and it brings Dodge Challenger’s seasonal record to 8 ( 3-3-1 ) with total earnings of $224.070, all coming on the grass.
Placing second would be a sharp closing Spirits Feronia ( Straight Arrow ) who was also let go at some 31-1 odds and help complete a substantial exacta payout. My apologies to Straight Arrow for not recognizing the fact that this five year was a previous winner of this event as a sophomore, and she should have received a better grading in my preview. But then again, I like when I am proven wrong. Time off definitely had her ready to go once again.
Rounding out the top three would be Country Mission, who with the help of jockey Saez, was probably thinking this was their event as they approach the line, but ended being a bitter disappointment. Then again at 90-1 odds and this being her first ever Graded try, I think her trainer when all was said and done, knew her efforts were brilliant.
Hits and misses out of the rest of the field. Four Left Feet ( Mb Stables ) who I made my choice ended in fifth, pretty much head to head with her stablemate Helping People at the wire.
Machined had the backing, but it seemed as she made the turn for home and was given a opening between runners, she hesitated to break through this tightly bunch and seemed to be a bit timid as well. I guess we will never know in her future, as she has been retired and sent to the breeding barn producing Necroa, out of Day Of Destiny and the No Doubt About It bloodline.
Trust Me On This was keen in the early stages of the event, but lacked the drive late to make a difference. I thought we would see more out of Smokey Stover’s Smokin Nebulae on the day. She is another one entered here who has been retired and has already produced a foal with sire Grandeur.
Trainer Williams9 was hoping to capture his second Grade III title on the day to go with his 2017 winner Inevitability victory in the Mr Prospector. He is zero for fourteen this season against graded, but trust me, number two is not far away. Deserving Mood is still in the developing stage.