By Jim Mulvihill, NTRA
FRANKLIN, Ky. (Saturday, September 9, 2017) -- Exhibiting the class that has made her a multiple Grade 1 winner in the U.S., a regular at Royal Ascot, and arguably the most accomplished mare to ever run in Franklin, Ky., even-money favorite Miss Temple City overtook a stubborn Zipessa in the final eighth to win Saturday’s Grade 3, $350,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf Presented by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association by a neck.
With regular rider Edgar Prado aboard, Miss Temple City broke alertly and sat just off Zipessa, who held a comfortable lead through fractions of 26.42 and 48.96 seconds. Into the undulating stretch, Miss Temple City made her move and closed the gap on Zipessa – a solid fifth in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf -- but the early leader dug in gamely. Prado thought Miss Temple City may have made it closer than it should have been by waiting once she hit the lead and had to ask her a second time before stopping the timer in 1:36.91 for one mile over a firm course.
“She settled off the pace nice and relaxed, and when I asked her, she gave me that kick,” Prado said. “When I turned her loose she went by that horse easy and she thought it was all over; she tried to slow down a bit. But she got the job done and everybody is happy.”
Miss Temple City was winless in her two prior starts this year and both times had trouble relaxing before the race.
“At Ascot she was very nervous in the post parade and even when I took her to the gate she was anxious,” Prado said. “She lost the race there in the post parade, and she was nervous at Monmouth, too. But today she was relaxed, walked, stood for me. She was much better.”
Trainer Graham Motion was more relieved than elated to get a win from what he called “the best filly I’ve ever trained.”
“I’m always nervous when I run her,” he said. “Obviously I’m very attached to her and just want to see her run well. You get much more nervous about these deals when you’re a favorite. There’s a lot more riding on it, and I’m just glad it worked out.”
Miss Temple City will be pointed to the Keeneland’s Fall Meet, with a decision still to come between a try at repeating in the Shadwell Turf Mile against males or the First Lady versus fillies and mares. Both are Grade 1 stakes on Oct. 7.
Zipessa fought on for second, with the top two finishing three lengths clear of the rest of the field.
“She didn’t want to get beat today,” jockey Joe Bravo said. “She fought hard and she wanted to win. She went around there really nice. Her ears were up listening and breathing. Two good horses matched up, and let the fireworks begin.”
Linda got third and the order was completed by Beauly, Susie Bee, and Seeking Paradise. Hone In and Majestic Angel scratched.
Miss Temple City, by Temple City, earned her fourth graded stakes win while running her overall record to 19-7-3-3 with earnings of $1,677,868 for owners The Club Racing LLC, Needle In A Haystack, LLC and Sagamore Farm. A $2 win bet returned $3.60.