June 8, 2023

Morticia spooks foes on three shoes in Franklin County

Morticia is now a five-time stakes winner in 2017 (Coady Photography)

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Hunch players might have chalked it up to being Friday the 13th, but a cut back in distance to 5 1/2 furlongs was probably more of a key for Morticia in reaching the winner’s circle in the $100,000 Franklin County (G3) at Keeneland before a crowd of 17,546 on a glorious autumn day.

Undefeated in four starts at five and 5 1/2 furlongs on turf prior to the Franklin County, Morticia was found wanting in last month’s Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint over 6 1/2 furlongs, finishing a tiring third to Lull. Returning to her preferred trip here, the daughter of Twirling Candy took over from pacesetter Kasuga in upper stretch and held off a late charge from longshot Justa Lady to win by a half-length under Jose Lezcano, with Lull two lengths back in third.

A homebred racing for G. Watts Humphrey and trained by Rusty Arnold, who captured last Sunday’s Spinster (G1) with Romantic Vision, Morticia covered the distance on firm ground in 1:03.92 and paid $7.20 as the 5-2 second choice.

The departure of the fillies and mares from the paddock for the Franklin County was delayed by Morticia, who acted up in the saddling enclosure.

“She threw a little fit and we couldn’t get a shoe back on her,” Arnold said. “She ran with three shoes.”

Completing the order of finish was Kasagua, Always Thinking, Nobody’s Fault, Miss Ella, Boom Bam Bing, Scatter Gun, Carolina Shag, Indriya, and Childhood.

This was the fifth stakes win of the season for the three-year-old filly, who previously captured the $75,000 Melody of Colors at Gulfstream, the $100,000 Soaring Softly at Belmont, the $100,000 Stormy Blues at Laurel, and the $100,000 Coronation Cup at Saratoga, all restricted to three-year-old fillies.

Besides her loss in the Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint, her only stakes loss was a second to La Coronel in the Appalachian (G3) over at mile at Keeneland last April. Her record now stands at 9-6-1-1, $366,475.

Bred in Kentucky, Morticia was reared by the Mr. Greeley mare Halloween Party. She’s from the family of Irish highweight Lucayan Prince, Grade 2 winner Silver Comic and Grade scorer Comic Strip.