Mike G. Rutherford’s homebred Stageplay was sent off the 3-5 favorite in Saturday’s $150,000 Silverbulletday S. and ran to those odds when pulling off a 1 1/4-length victory under jockey Florent Geroux.
Trained by Steve Asmussen, the gray filly tracked in third early before putting in her bid rounding the turn. Stageplay drew even with Lovable Lyss and pacesetter Midnight on Oconee, who had set early splits of :24.18 and :47.80 while racing along the rail.
The latter half of the race was all about Stageplay, though, as the Curlin filly drew off to finish a mile and 70 yards over Fair Grounds’ fast main track in 1:43.76.
In addition to the winner’s share, which boosted her bankroll to $213,324 and her career mark to 4-3-1-0, Stageplay took home 10 points toward a starting berth in the May 6 Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs.
Midnight on Oconee was best of the rest in second and garnered four points in this Road to the Kentucky Oaks series contest. Jet Black Magic took third, and two points, over Lovable Lyss. That latter filly was another half-length back in fourth, which was good for one point.
Stageplay traveled outside of Kentucky for the first time in the Silverbulletday. The filly made her debut a three-length victory at Keeneland on October 10 and then captured the Rags to Riches S. at Churchill on November 1. She tried the Golden Rod S. (G2) 27 days later under the Twin Spires but suffered her first loss when second in that contest on the sloppy, sealed track.
Stageplay is out of the stakes-winning Valid Expectations mare Stage Stop, making her a half-sister to Grade 3 victor She Digs Me and 2013 Preakness S. (G1) third-placer Mylute.
Stageplay photo courtesy of Amanda Hodges Weir/Hodges Photography
Florent Geroux (jockey, Stageplay, winner): “She’s a very intelligent filly. Very smart. She broke very sharply from the gate and from there I just sent her along. She did the rest and dragged me to the lead and collected the win.”
Steve Asmussen (trainer, Stageplay, winner): “She’s a very talented filly. I’m very fortunate to have her for Mr. Rutherford. She came in from GoldMark and they had the highest opinion of her and she’s definitely not disappointed.”
James Graham (jockey, Midnight on Oconee, 2nd): “I got a little bit of a breather coming out of the turn. Asmussen’s filly came at me and passed me, but I was getting back at her late. She’s hardy. She had to run to beat me.
Colby Hernandez (jockey, Jet Black Magic, 3rd): “I had a great trip. It set up exactly how we wanted and she ran a big race.”