e Five Racing Thoroughbreds’ Rushing Fall lived up to her 4-5 favoritism in Wednesday’s $150,000 Jessamine Stakes (G3) at Keeneland with a 3 1/4-length win under jockey Javier Castellano.
The Jessamine is the final race in the 2017 “Win & You’re In” Challenge series and awarded the winner an all-fees paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) on November 3 at Del Mar.
Mentality set the pace in the 1 1/16-mile contest, posting splits of :23.40, :48.79, 1:14.51 and 1:39.92 over the soft turf. Meanwhile, Rushing Fall bided her time in the rear of the field with fellow later runner Stainless.
As the runners neared the turn, Castellano gave Rushing Fall her signal and the Chad Brown-trained filly began picking off rivals rounding the turn. Going widest of all in the 14-strong field, Rushing Fall rallied strongly to collar the front runners in midstretch and pulled away to stop the clock in 1:46.20.
Stainless also put in a nice run from the back of the pack, taking second by a head over Cash Out. Layla Noor followed another 1 1/2 lengths behind in fourth while completing the order of finish were Sugar Queen, Sunny Skies, Mentality, Rosie O’Prado, Punto de Entrada, She’s All Skeet, Breaking Beauty, Madame X., Lady O’Toole and Miss Mo Mentum.
Rushing Fall scored her stakes debut in this spot and is now two-for-two after capturing her initial outing by 1 1/4 lengths at Belmont Park on September 16. The More Than Ready bay lass boosted her career earnings to $185,000.
Bred in Kentucky by Fred W. Hertrich III and John D. Fielding, Rushing Fall is out of the Forestry mare Autumnal. The juvenile miss is a half-sister to multiple Grade 3-placed stakes winner Milam and dual-stakes placed Autumn Song, and comes from the same female family as Grade 1-scoring multi-millionaire Albert the Great.
Chad Brown, trainer Rushing Fall, winner
“Extremely impressive, but I’m not surprised. She identified herself as special the first time we breezed her on the turf for us. We are lucky to have her.”
Javier Castellano, jockey Russhing Fall, winner
On whether he knew Rushing Fall was capable of such a come-from-behind run
“Absolutely. The way she ran the first time, that’s the impression she gave me. She doesn’t have much speed in the beginning of the race. I let her fall out of there and see how the race developed. There was a little more speed in the race, and I wanted her to feel comfortable. Turning for home, I just asked her a little bit and she gave me another gear.
“The way she did it today, very amazing. Big field, very competitive horses. The way she did it with the soft ground, come from way back, had to go around a couple of horses – I went a little wide – all those situations. She really came through.”
Manny Franco, jockey Stainless, second
“She broke a little bit slow. I didn’t want to rush her after that, and I followed the winner all the way around. She was second best today. She liked the turf; she handled it better than dirt.”
Laurie Wolf of StarLadies Racing, owner Stainless, second
“She ran really well. It will be up to (trainer Todd Pletcher) on where she will run next. She did well and did much better coming out of the gate than her last race (when she stumbled at the start). Todd liked the way she worked on the turf and thought she would like it better.”
Florent Geroux, jockey Cash Out, third
“I wish I could have tucked in a little bit more, but other than that I thought she ran great. She showed a lot of fight. She broke sharply, I took my time with her and she put me in the race. I was close to where I wanted to be, but I wish I could have been closer to the pace than where I was.”