Got Lucky gets the win, and Distaff berth, in Spinster
This win, her first at the Grade 1 level, earned Got Lucky an automatic berth to the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) over the self-same 1 1/8-mile distance and Keeneland main track on October 30. The Spinster was the final “Win & You’re In” Challenge series contest giving away a guaranteed spot to the Distaff this year.
Got Lucky appeared to have no shot early on, racing in the rear of the field as reigning Kentucky Oaks (G1) heroine Lovely Maria and Yahilwa shared pacesetting duties through fractions of :23.62, :46.89 and 1:11.01. Untapable was keeping in close contact, running just behind those two with Mei Ling to her outside and Tiz Windy taking up space along the rail.
Got Lucky was still loping along in the rear, in front of only a distanced Flashy American on the backstretch, before finally beginning her move on the final turn. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. got busy aboard the A.P. Indy filly and she powered home, angling out at one point, to collar last year’s Kentucky Oaks and Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Untapable. Got Lucky stopped the clock in 1:49.44 over the fast dirt.
Only a neck and a head separated the top three, as Yahilwa was right there in third on the wire at 20-1. Frivolous completed the superfecta another four lengths back while Lovely Maria came in fifth.
Got Lucky just earned her first stakes win in July when taking the Molly Pitcher S. (G3) by 5 1/2 lengths at Monmouth Park, and quickly followed with a second when scoring by 4 1/2 lengths in the Lady’s Secret S. at that same track. The Todd Pletcher trainee was second last out in the Personal Ensign S. (G1) at Saratoga and is likely to face that race’s winner, Sheer Drama, again in the Distaff.
Bred by owners Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings and Philip J. Steinberg, Got Lucky comes from a star-studded female family. She is out of the Deputy Minister mare Malka and counts as her fourth dam champion Numbered Account.
Got Lucky photos courtesy of Keeneland/Coady Photography
Todd Pletcher, trainer of winner Got Lucky: “Where I was in the Grandstand – I was right at the eighth-pole – I thought she had a lot to do at that point, but I could tell she was coming. I was just hoping she got there in time.”
On importance of Got Lucky winning a Grade 1 race for the first time: “She’s got as good of a pedigree as any filly in the world, and to get that first Grade 1 is huge for her.”
Irad Ortiz Jr., jockey of winner Got Lucky: “I followed (Pletcher’s) instructions. Last time (in the Personal Ensign [G1] on August 29 at Saratoga) I was a little too far back. She came late. Today she broke good. I was in the back, and she came running at the end. I wanted to save ground. I stayed close to the rail and then swung her out. When she got clear, she took off. I thought I had a pretty good shot (to win).”
John G. Sikura, breeder and co-owner of winner Got Lucky in the name of Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings: “It’s a huge win. She’s by A.P. Indy and just getting better and better with each race as she’s gotten older. To win a Grade 1 with that pedigree is amazing.”
Steve Asmussen, trainer of runner-up Untapable: “She ran well, but that is not her best. It hasn’t fallen together. We brought her here so she could get a feel for the track. This is the first time she has stepped on it that it isn’t muddy. Hopefully things will go smoothly with her from here. She has had an extremely disappointing year (yet) she has run out ($800,000). It’s frustrating.”
John Velazquez, jocke of runner-up Untapable: “I had a good trip. I think she's getting more aggressive than she has in the past and I think she just needs to relax a little bit more. She would get it done if she does.”
James Graham, jockey of third-place finisher Yahilwa: “I had a perfect trip. She’s a lovely filly. She empties herself out out there, and that’s the kind you want to ride. She gives you 110 percent.”
Jon Court, jockey of fourth-place finisher Frivolous: “I had a good trip. In fact, the winner, turning for home, was behind me a length. As we made the turn for home, my filly made a run down the lane and got up for fourth.
“The winner was right behind me when we straightened for home. We both had equal opportunity. He (Irad Ortiz Jr.) got to the winner’s circle. I finished fourth, so she ran good. The surface feels really good out there today. Keeneland’s done a good job.”
Larry Jones, trainer of fifth-place finisher Lovely Maria: “We didn’t want to send as hard as we did out of the one hole but we had to. If we were on the outside stalking, we would have been happier. This (race) doesn’t flat out say we should be (in the Breeders’ Cup) but we’ll see how it goes. Anyone of us who are here have an advantage. We're here; we don't have to ship.”
Kerwin Clark, jockey of fifth-place finisher Lovely Maria: “It was a little faster than I wanted to go. The two horses that were right there with me were second and third so I can’t (use that as an excuse). I have a lot of love in my heart for her; I'm kind of partial.”