First Lady (Grade 1)- $750.000 Purse
KEE- For Fillies and Mares Three Years Old and Upward
One Mile on the Turf
October 7, 2023
On Saturday at KEE, the 19th running of the First Lady will be taking place, and a field of eleven will heading to the starting gate in hopes of collecting the winner’s share of the $750.000 purse that is offered. That purse level was new to the race in 2022 and was a large increase of $350.000 from where it had been previously. The First Lady ran as a Grade 2 for three years before being upgraded in 2008 and has seen the likes of A Little Oblivion and Broomsticks Copy take home its trophy, prior to La Terrifiant becoming the first horse to win the race twice, doing so in 2019 and 2020. Last year, the race was won by Versailles, for D J C Racing Stables, and she has since been retired. She was a non-factor in the BC Fillies and Mares Turf and was one of three horses that ran in last year’s First Lady to appear in that BC race. Let’s take a quick look at those running in this year’s race!
#1- All By Myself (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by Mar Garcia) Won for the first time in a year and a half in her last race, when she took the $125.000 ELP Turf, so now we have to see if she makes it two in a row. She kept being entered in graded races because she was actually very consistent in hitting the board, especially with running third. Maybe she just needed things to fall her way, because you can’t be that steady and keep not winning forever. All By Myself has plenty of experience in Grade 1’s and was a BC runner last year.
#2- Demanding Commander (Mb Stables, ridden by L Saez)- Mb Stables paid a lot to get this one in April, purchasing her for $625.000, so you know he had high hopes for her. Right away, that was rewarded as eight days after the sale, she won the Grade 1 Wiley right here. This is her first time at KEE since that race, but she comes here off of another sharp looking win, taking the Grade 2 Mabee Stakes at DMR last month. Occasionally prone to poor start, but I am optimistic that is not going to happen here. Look for her to be near the front early.
#3- Creepy Chili (Chili King Stables, ridden by P Lopez)- In fourteen starts, this Creepy Palace has three wins, and one of them came in her last start: the $150.000 Solana Beach Stakes for CA-Breds at DMR, beating three others. It was also on yielding turf, so I am not sure how excited I want to get over that result. She’s otherwise been steady, but her better finishes would be in optional claimers and not the stakes she has been in. I want to see how she can do against this type of field before considering picking her.
#4- Painville (Mo Mentum Farm, ridden by F Geroux)- An experienced five-year-old mare that got off to a fast start this year with Mo Mentum Farm after he picked her up for $150.000 in private sales. She won three terrible but with Mo Mentum Farm, a streak that would actually be five if you went back further, with the biggest win being the Grade 2 Buena Vista Stakes at SA. The streak may have ended, but that didn’t stop her from winning the Grade 1 Just A Game a few months later. Ran fourth at SAR twice since, and the Grade 2 Ballston is probably a throw out due to the yielding turf.
#5- Omnibus (HIgh Voltage, ridden by A Cedillo)- In both of those last two races that Painville, Omnibus was part of the field, so now this filly will be looking to the turn the tables on that one while beating everyone else in the process. She’s won once this year, coming at SA in the Grade 3 Wilshire Stakes and did run a solid third in the Just A Game. Her two starts since then were not terrible but could have been better. Ran sixth in the KD Ladies Turf at that track last month but was only beaten by a length. Seems like a competitive runner but may need to catch a break to get the win.
#6- Ma Petite Penne (Night Mare Racing, ridden by M Franco) Finished one spot better than Omnibus in the KD Ladies Turf, running fifth, and for her it came following a late charge from the back of the field to get that finish. Overall, she’s been good as a four-year-old, winning four times, with the biggest victory coming two back at SAR in the $200.000 Yaddo Handicap for NY Breds. I’ll be curious to see what tactic she uses, since her seemed a lot better as a frontrunner, but then again, the trainer may be wanting to try what was done at KD again.
#7- The Great Enabler (Wood Duck Stables, ridden by T Gaffalione)- Picked up by the trainer in the June auction for $101.010, and so far things have gone very well for her while running in the Wood Duck silks. She’s run three times since then, winning an allowance before heading to DMR for the Grade 2 Yellow Ribbon Handicap, that she also won. The Great Enabler would stay out west, and on the same day others were running in the KD Ladies Turf, she was involved in the Grade 2 Mabee Stakes, and ran second to Demanding Commander. In each of those last two, she’s earned triple digit SRF’s, which is great form to be on when running in your first Grade 1.
#8- Swam Pass (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by R M Hernandez)- Two starts back, Swam Pass picked up the win in the $100.000 Osunitas stakes, going wire to wire for the win. Off of that, she would be entered in the Grade 2 Flower Bowl at SAR, and it was likely a combination of the longer distance and stronger field that saw her tire out after setting the early fractions, and finish six lengths back. She’ll be happy to only be running a mile here, which is the distance that all three of her wins are at as she takes on top company again.
#9- Toxins (London Racing, ridden by F Prat)- In June, Toxins won the Grade 1 Just A Game at BEL. Wait, didn’t we just say Painville won that? Well, they both did, as it was a dead heat, we should be used to that! Prior to that, she beat Painville, and everyone else in the CD Distaff Turf Mile, a Grade 2 with a $500.000 purse. She’s run well since then, and was in the KD Ladies Turf last month, and picked up the fourth-place check. This will be the sixth straight race where F Prat is in the saddle, and Toxins should be expected to be in the mix at the end here. I might have picked her to win if this was right off the Just A Game.
#10- Lucky Star (Maxmillion Farm, ridden by J R Velazquez)- After showing plenty of ability as a two-year-old and early this year, Lucky Star would end up being sold to Maxmillion Farm in late May for $800.000. That type of price shows that kind of expectations that she would need to live up to for her new trainer, and as of now Lucky Star is still looking for her first win with Max. All three of her races have been, and seen her finish within a length of the win, including Grade 3 Music City Stakes at KD last month. However, those finishes are not something you spend $800.000 for. This filly still has upside, but it would be nice to see her get that win soon.
#11- Fangs Of The Storm (Arindel, ridden by Mario Gutierrez)- After winning the Grade 3 Modesty Stakes at CD, Fangs Of The Storm struggled in her next two races, only beating a combined one horse between them. Last month, it was off to the Grade 2 Ballston, which was run on yielding turf, and she only beat one horse there as well. Of course, in that, that still got her third. If she’s here, the trainer still believes everything is fine, but it will have me look elsewhere.