Vergara digs in to win the Ladies Marathon (G3) under Joel Rosario (Courtney Snow/Past The Wire)
By Kentucky Downs Publicity Team
FRANKLIN, Ky.— Gary Broad’s Vergara showed she is a horse for the Kentucky Downs course Saturday with a three-quarters of a length victory over Transient in the $1 million Aristocrat Ladies Marathon (G3).
Jockey Joel Rosario rode a very similar race to the one he turned in on Vergara for trainer Graham Motion last year when she notched her most recent victory in the Dueling Ground Oaks. This time, they stalked longshot Glenall, who went right to the lead under Reylu Gutierrez in the 1 5/16 miles race before seizing control entering the stretch. Sent off as the narrow 2-1 favorite in the field of six, Vergara paid $6.52 to win.
“She broke really well,” Rosario said. “The horse that set up the speed (Glenall), I got a little behind her. They were going a little slow. I guess at some point she was tugging a little bit, but very comfortable. Graham told me just to be comfortable with her. She likes it here. I’d like to thank Graham and all the team.”
Vergara, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Noble Mission out of the Street Cry mare Figure of Beauty, is named for the actress Sophia Vergara, famous for her role in the television series Modern Family. The winner’s share of $608,280 made her a millionaire in her 13th career start for Motion, who was on a plane from Europe when the race was run.
Glenall carried the field through splits of 26.12 seconds, 50.83 and 1:15.12. Rosario moved Vergara closer to the lead on the run down the hill nearing the half-mile pole. Vergara moved away from Glenall entering the long stretch, gaining a two-length advantage and withstood challenges by Transient and Sinfiltre.
“Every time a horse came to her, she was wanting to do it,” Rosario said. “She always tries really hard, this filly. Like I say, she likes it here.”
Vergara completed the race in 2:10.96. Sinfiltre finished third, three-quarters of a length behind Transient.
Assistant trainer Alice Clapham, who has worked for Motion since 2007, handled the 4-year-old filly for the Ladies Marathon. Motion has been in France, where he and his wife Anita participated in the 80th birthday celebration for her father.
“Joel said she was a little keen because they slowed it down quite a bit,” Clapham said. “He said she just loves it around here. She won here last year. When they slowed it down again, he said he was just going to go for home and she did all the rest on her own. He said there was more there. With them taking the rail down and having the fresh track, he said it was really nice.”
Clapham said the Motion team was confident that Vergara was up for a big performance at Kentucky Downs.
“Everyone has been saying she has been training great since she ran at Saratoga (5th in the Glens Falls on Aug. 3),” she said. “They were all saying she was doing really good and they proved to be right. It’s great to win here. It’s a great place to come and enjoy it. The weather has been great. Fun to be here.”
Transient’s trainer Saffie Joseph said his 5-year-old mare ran well for jockey Tyler Gaffalione and had no excuses.
“We had enough of a chance to run her down,” Joseph said. “She is a kind of a difficult filly to relax, Tyler did a great job in getting her to relax. I’m proud of that. Obviously, the winner was going well at the top of the stretch. We were close enough, but we just could not run her down today. On the day, we were second-best. You always want to be first, but that’s racing. You can’t win them all and I am proud of the filly. She ran good and she came back well. You can’t complain.”
Rounding out the field were Personal Best, Lady Rockstar, and Glenall.