December 3, 2023

Rushing Fall smashes course record in Jenny Wiley repeat

Rushing Fall
Rushing Fall winning the 2020 Jenny Wiley (G1) at Keeneland (Coady Photography)

E Five Racing Thoroughbreds’ Rushing Fall made history on several levels at Keeneland on Saturday. Scoring a repeat victory in the $350,000 Jenny Wiley Stakes (G1) in course-record time, the 4-5 favorite achieved the rare distinction of winning Grade 1s every year from the ages of two through five. According to track publicity, only two others have accomplished the feat in the graded stakes era (since 1976) – Beholder and Lady Eli.

Trainer Chad Brown, who also conditioned Lady Eli, was celebrating a career day of his own. Earlier on the card, Guarana handed him his 100th Grade 1 win in the Madison (G1), in stakes-record time on the dirt, and at Delaware Park, Dunbar Road cruised in the Delaware H. (G2).

On a bright, hot summer day more conducive to fast times than Keeneland’s traditional Spring or Fall dates, Rushing Fall was involved in a cat-and-mouse game with 6-1 Jolie Olimpica early. Rushing Fall’s regular rider, Javier Castellano, was content to let fellow Hall of Famer Mike Smith go ahead aboard Jolie Olimpica. Now Rushing Fall switched paths to become the outside stalker.

Although having a tendency to overrace at Santa Anita, Jolie Olimpica apparently had taken her relaxation lessons to heart and heeded Smith through fractions of :23.42, :46.94, and 1:10.10. Rushing Fall took closer order on the far turn, but Smith hadn’t set Jolie Olimpica down yet.

At the top of the stretch, Jolie Olimpica found more and briefly appeared to keep Rushing Fall at bay. But it was only temporary, as the defending champion would not be denied. Rushing Fall gained momentum passing the eighth-pole and won going away by three-quarters of a length, becoming the first to repeat in this race since champion Intercontinental (2004-05).

Her final time of 1:39.02 for 1 1/16 miles obliterated the 20-year-old record of 1:40.30 set by Canadian Hall of Famer Quiet Resolve in an allowance April 27, 2000.

Third-placer Juliet Foxtrot, who had been tracking on the inside, had to work to get out and checked in a half-length behind Jolie Olimpica. Brown’s other runner, deep closer Altea, rallied to dead-heat for fourth with Toinette. The others – Secret Message, La Signare, and Mucho Unusual – couldn’t improve their positions.

Rushing Fall is now 5-for-6 at Keeneland, with victories in the 2018 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) and Appalachian (G2) and 2017 Jessamine (G3) to accompany her two Jenny Wiley titles. Her other laurels have come in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) at Del Mar; the 2018 Lake Placid (G2) at Saratoga; last summer’s Just a Game (G1) at Belmont Park; and the June 3 Beaugay (G3) in her seasonal reappearance back at Belmont. Her scorecard of 13-10-2-0, $2,278,000, also reflects placings in the 2018 Edgewood (G3) and 2019 Diana (G1) along with a fourth in last fall’s First Lady (G1), her only local loss.

Between her course proficiency and past success over an international field in a Breeders’ Cup event, Rushing Fall would loom as a prime contender here on Nov. 7. But do connections stick to a trip she relishes, while taking on males in the Mile (G1), or stick to her own division, while stepping up in trip to the 1 3/16-mile Filly & Mare Turf (G1)?

Bred by Fred W. Hertrich III and John D. Fielding in Kentucky, Rushing Fall sold for $320,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling. The bay is by More Than Ready and out of the Forestry mare Autumnal, who has also produced multiple Grade 3-placed stakes winner Milam.

The $150,000 Appalachian Stakes record also fell on Saturday, as Enola Gay surged late to nip Walk in Marrakesh and Alms in a dramatic three-way photo. The Shug McGaughey trainee clocked the mile in a stakes-record 1:33.97, eclipsing the mark of 1:34 4/5 set by Halo River in 1998.

Alms, the 1-2 favorite, stalked front-running Evil Lyn through splits of :23.25 and :46.28 before heading her at the 6-furlong mark in 1:09.78. But Walk in Marrakesh was hovering into contention, and the 9-2 second choice always looked like having Alms covered down the lane. The favorite was stubborn on the inside though, while Walk in Marrakesh was happy to run alongside with a narrow advantage, and not put her away.

Meanwhile, the 5-1 Enola Gay had been racing evenly another couple of lengths back. Perhaps it was just a touch of ring-rustiness since she hadn’t been seen since November, and for most of the way this shaped as a useful comeback effort. Then in deep stretch, Enola Gay suddenly kicked into gear for Julien Leparoux. Summoning a burst to join the leaders, she forced her nose in front on the line.

Walk in Marrakesh was still a head up on Alms, with Evil Lyn back in fourth. Next came Passion Factor and French import Mariafoot.

Allen Stable’s homebred Enola Gay was making her two-turn debut off the layoff. A smart winner sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs in her Kentucky Downs unveiling, she was a closing fourth in the Nov. 10 Stewart Manor at Aqueduct. Her resume reads 3-2-0-0, $174,000.

The Uncle Mo filly is the first foal from the War Front mare Dakota Queen, who is a full sister to French stakes scorer The Brothers War and a half to Grade 3 vixen Beauty Parlor. Second dam Moon Queen is a Group 2-winning daughter of Sadler’s Wells and Infamy, the 1988 Rothmans International (G1) heroine and a noted producer responsible for Italian highweight Barafamy and Grade 2 victress Innunendo (dam of Criticism).