Dickinson (Medaglia d’Oro), left, wins The Jenny Wiley (G1) at Keeneland on 4.15.2017, Paco Lopez up, Kiaran McLaughlin trainer, Godolphin Racing owner.
It was Kiaran McLaughlin and Godolphin Stables’ world at Keeneland on Saturday, and even the fairytale story of Lady Eli couldn’t break that spell. In the G1 Coolmore Jenny Wiley, Lady Eli powered to the lead in mid-stretch only to be run down in the final strides by Godolphin’s Dickinson, giving those connections their fourth win on the afternoon. Dickinson, a 5-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, was ridden to the photo finish victory, her third in a row, by Paco Lopez. The pair covered 1 1/16 miles on the firm turf in 1:41.98 in Dickinson’s first top-level triumph.
“For Godolphin, it’s a great day, and she’s just a nice filly,” McLaughlin said. “We had trouble – and it still worked out. Just unbelievable to win four at Keeneland, especially ending on a Grade 1.”
McLaughlin’s four wins tie the record for most wins in one day at Keeneland, shared by trainers Bill Mott and Todd Pletcher.
“That’s great company to be in,” continued McLaughlin. “It’s been a great day. We’ll probably look at New York on Belmont Day, a mile (in the $ 700,000 Just A Game-G1). She’s doing great.”
The eight fillies and mares all left the starting gates at nearly the same moment, traveling evenly for the first 100 yards. Irad Ortiz held Lady Eli back along the rail as Catch a Glimpse and Dickinson surged to the front of the field just a neck apart, tracked by Illuminant. Time and Motion and Quidura were out wide on the first turn, with Lady Eli saving all the ground behind a wall of horses at the rail in sixth early on.
Catch a Glimpse moved out to take a commanding 1 1/2-length lead through a first quarter in 23.74 seconds, and Illuminant moved up on the outside to take second. Dickinson followed the footsteps of Catch a Glimpse at the rail in third, just in front of Lady Eli, who tossed her head a bit through the first turn. To the outside, Quidura kept company with Dickinson and Time and Motion dropped back alongside Lady Eli.
Down the backstretch the order was largely unchanged, with Catch a Glimpse easing up just a bit to mark the half in :48.05. The entire leading sextet picked up the pace significantly at the half-mile pole, all extending strides while the ones to the inside had no room to run. Turning for home, Illuminant drew even with Catch a Glimpse in the final strides of the turn, while Dickinson laid in wait just behind those two in third. Lady Eli finally had room to make her move around Dickinson, and a left-handed reminder from Ortiz sent her flying into the center of the stretch.
Lopez finally gave up on a hole at the rail, and ended up having to go around Lady Eli to get clear running room in the lane. Dickinson was carried out several paths by a drifting Lady Eli, who was corrected at the sixteenth pole once she gained the lead from Illuminant and Catch a Glimpse. In the end it wouldn’t matter, as Lopez gave Dickinson a perfectly-timed final thrust which put the mare’s nose in front at the wire.
“I had a little trouble,” Lopez admitted. “I wanted to go through on the rail and it opened up a little bit but I couldn’t get through. When the other horse (Lady Eli) passed me, we got room and I still had a lot of filly.”
Dickinson defeated Lady Eli in the photo finish, and Quidura kept on to finish third. Kitten’s Roar was up from the rear of the field to finish fourth.
“Hats off to the winner,” said Chad Brown, trainer of Lady Eli. “Both ran well but we just got beat right on the wire just like we did in the Breeders’ Cup (Filly and Mare Turf-G1 in November). It’s tough but it was her first start of the year so hopefully she will move forward off of it. We’ll get her back to Belmont Park and then pick out a race up there. She is a neck and two noses from being undefeated. She is a great horse and I am really proud of her effort today. The horse that beat her is a very good horse as well. She had been training terrific; no excuses today.”
Bred in Kentucky by Darley, Dickinson is out of a graded stakes-winning daughter of A.P. Indy, who is herself out of a winning daughter of Mr. Prospector; Darley is responsible for the breeding of Dickinson’s first two dams. Dickinson herself was a bit slow to pick up the racing game, finishing second and third in her first two outings, then stumbling and losing her rider in the third. She broke through in her fourth try, and became a fairly consistent allowance runner throughout her 4-year-old season.
Dickinson first tried graded stakes company in January of this year, finishing fourth off a 45-day layoff. The mare then jumped up to win her next two starts, the G3 Suwannee River and the G2 Hillsborough. The Jenny Wiley is her first Grade 1 victory, and improves Dickinson’s record to seven wins from 14 starts with earnings of just over $ 600,000.
Watch the race replay here:
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