LEXINGTON, Ky. – Augustin Stable’s Delight lived up to her favoritism by romping to a 5-length victory in the 32nd running of the $350,000 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G2) for 2-year-old fillies.
Trained by Jonathan Thomas and ridden by Luis Saez, Delight covered the 1 1/16 miles on the firm turf course in 1:44.14. The victory gave Thomas his first Keeneland stakes triumph.
With the victory, Delight earned a spot in the starting gate for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) to be run here Nov. 4.
Delight won the race into the first turn and opened a clear lead into the backstretch over Bling and took the field of 12 through fractions of :24.32, :49.61 and 1:14.73. Bling was still off the leader’s flank at the top of the stretch when Saez hit the gas and Delight quickly spurted clear.
A Keeneland sales graduate, Delight is a Florida-bred daughter of Mendelssohn out of the Medaglia d’Oro mare Honey Trap. The victory was worth $169,725 and increased Delight’s earnings to $211,905 with a record of 4-2-0-2.
Delight returned $9.68, $5.52 and $3.92. Knockyoursocksoff, who hopped at the start and spotted the field several lengths, rallied for second under Flavien Prat and returned $6.48 and $4.58. Bling, ridden by Rafael Bejarano, was another neck back in third and paid $7.44 to show.
It was another three-quarters of a length back to Sabalenka with C C Cruise Control, Dulcia, Happy Gal, Towhead, Blind Spot, Stephanie’s Charm, Recognize and Promise of Hope following in order.
Quotes from the $350,000 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G2)
Jonathan Thomas (winning trainer of Delight): “(I credit her) good owner (for the progress she’s made since April), letting us take our time and pick the appropriate spots. Her ability to relax (impressed me most today). We were hoping to get her covered up, but she really relaxed. I love seeing her ears twitching back and forth. You’re always hoping you have horse, and she kicked away. That’s when you see (jockey) Luis (Saez) really, really good, when he’s on the lead like that. He’s so well rounded, but that’s when he’s absolutely brilliant.”
On gaining a win over the Keeneland turf course, where the Breeders’ Cup World Championships will take place: “It’s the greatest. And it’s for such a wonderful owner (George Strawbridge of Augustin Stable). He’s really put a lot of faith in us. It’s really special.”
Luis Saez (winning rider): “It was pretty easy (to get her to relax on the front end). The plan was to follow somebody and have a target for the lead, but she broke so well and did it on her own. She controlled the pace and relaxed beautiful. When she came to the top of the stretch, it was all about her. She (accelerated) pretty fast (at the top of the stretch). She had a big turn of foot and I didn’t really have to do anything – just keep going on with her and she did it.”
Flavien Prat (rider of runner-up Knockyoursocksoff): “She broke poorly, but after that I had a pretty good trip. She kicked on well.”
Rafael Bejarano (rider of third-place finisher Bling): “The winner was on the lead for the most part, I was second. I was close but wasn’t really close. This was her first time going two turns and she did it really comfortably. When we turned for home, I saw Delight take off so I tried to follow, but she just gave up a little bit but was a great performance with only losing second by a neck.”
Racing continues Saturday with an 11-race program that begins at 1 p.m. ET and features five graded stakes. Three are Grade 1 events headlined by the $1 million Coolmore Turf Mile.
Keeneland will offer a Pick 6 carryover of $33,629.
Keeneland Press Release
Main Photo Coady Photography