Keeneland’s turf course, which has looked a little worn in recent days, earned a needed rest on Saturday, the technical closing day of the Lexington track’s fall meet.
A modest rainfall early in the day was just the right excuse for management to move a pair of overnight races, and later the featured $150,000 Valley View, to the main track. Hopefully the extra time will allow the course to be worked on and be as strong as shape as possible for next weekend’s six Breeders’ Cup grass stakes.
Two fillies who figured to benefit from the switch in surface wound up running one-two in the Valley View, a 1 1/16-mile race for three-year-old fillies, but not in the order most bettors might have anticipated.
The Graham Motion-trained Tiger Ride, who had captured an off-the-turf renewal of the $103,000 TaWee at Indiana Grand by five lengths in July, swept to the lead following a four-wide rally turning for home and turned back a late charge from 5-2 favorite Include Betty to win the Valley View by a length in a time of 1:43.99. A homebred racing for Dixiana Farms and ridden by Edgar Prado, Tiger Ride paid $15.80.
Include Betty, a deep closer who captured the Mother Goose (G1), Fantasy (G3) and Remington Park Oaks earlier in the year, made a five-wide bid under Drayden Van Dyke but couldn’t get closer than a half-length in the final furlong. Mrs McDougal, a Grade 2 winner on grass at Saratoga this summer, finished 2 1/4 lengths farther back in third.
This was the third stakes win of the year for Tiger Ride, who entered off a one-length victory in the $206,000 Indiana Grand on grass September 9. She has won three of four starts since joining the Motion barn over the summer.
“I felt pretty comfortable running her on dirt. I would have preferred the grass,” Motion said. “I think she’s eventually going to be a better filly on the grass. But obviously she handles both, which is pretty unique.
It’s perhaps too early to speculate, but the $200,000 Mrs. Revere (G2) at 1 1/16 miles on the turf at Churchill Downs November 14 could be a possible next target for Tiger Ride. Include Betty’s main track options include the $200,000 Falls City H. (G2) at Churchill on Thanksgiving against older, or the $300,000 Comely (G3) at Aqueduct against straight three-year-olds. Both races are at nine furlongs.
Because the Valley View was moved from the turf to dirt, the race was automatically downgraded from a Grade 3 per the rules of the American Graded Stakes Committee. Given the number of graded stakes winners who remained in the field despite the surface switch, the Committee is likely to re-instate the Valley View’s Grade 3 status.
(Tiger Ride photo: Keeneland/Coady Photography)