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Stopchargingmaria ekes out Demoiselle score
Repole Stable's Stopchargingmaria just got up to take Saturday's Grade 2, $400,000 Demoiselle at Aqueduct over stablemate Got Lucky and tenacious pacesetter Penwith. The Todd Pletcher-trained juvenile miss lived up to her 4-5 favoritism in the nine-furlong contest, which was clocked in a pedestrian time of 1:52 3/5 over the fast main track.
"I was pleased with both of their races. Big effort by Got Lucky in her second start," Pletcher said. "The thing I thought (Stopchargingmaria) had going for her is a good foundation and the fact that she has a good mind. She's very ratable. She's kind. She's not the kind you have to worry about getting too headstrong, but it's a mile and an eighth, and it's a long way for two-year-old fillies.
"I thought she ran really well," he added about Got Lucky. "Things got a little tight there around the sixteenth-pole. She just maybe got a little intimidated, but I thought it was a big effort for her second start. A little intimidated, but still courageous."
Penwith tried to lead all the way home, setting sedate splits of :25 1/5, :50 3/5 and 1:15 2/5 while tracked by Stopchargingmaria to her outside. The Bernardini lass still held the advantage entering the stretch and appeared ready to spring an upset at 9-1, but soon found herself facing a new rival.
Got Lucky had angled over to the rail and squeezed through as Penwith tightened up the gap. Meanwhile, Stopchargingmaria was unleashing her run under jockey Javier Castellano. The trio battled it out to the line, with Stopchargingmaria taking the win by a neck over Got Lucky on the rail and Penwith another head behind the runner-up while in between those two.
"I had a beautiful trip all the way in the race. Small field, outside post, I controlled the race all the way," Castellano remarked. "I like the way she did it today -- she's very amazing. Everything I asked, she responded. The question today was two turns, a mile and an eighth, and she handled it so well. She got it done today."
"There's a lot of upside to her, which is a good thing. There's a lot of room to grow," stated Got Lucky's jockey, Mike Smith. "Second time out, in tight; it was a little scary in there. Then, she saw the camera people at the wire from a distance. With a little improvement, I think she beats them."
"She ran great, unlucky to run so hard and finish third. She didn't have any quit in her," remarked Kiaran McLaughlin, who conditions Penwith. "We're happy and disappointed, but she ran really well having just broken her maiden."
Stopchargingmaria paid $3.90 for the win, her second graded triumph following a 10 3/4-length romp in the Tempted earlier this month. Lexi Morgan followed the top three under the wire as America and Mlle. Minuit completed the order of finish.
"It's nice winning this race back-to-back years," said Mike Repole, who captured the 2012 Demoiselle with Unlimited Budget in front-running fashion. "To win it with Unlimited Budget and now with Stopchargingmaria, it's fun. She was so close to being a Grade 1 horse. We put her in Grade 3 company last time and she won impressively. Today, she had an advantage with four races under her belt as opposed to some of them who had run once or twice. I didn't know if she would get this distance, but if she ever was going to win at 1 1/8 miles, today was the day."
Stopchargingmaria opened her racing career with a 5 1/2-length debut win at Saratoga in mid-July. She made her stakes bow a second-place run in the Spa's Spinaway before crossing the line in third a month later in the Frizette at Belmont. Now 3-1-1 from five races, the Tale of the Cat filly has racked up $548,000 in lifetime earnings.
Bred in Kentucky by Harvey Clarke and Brookdale Farm LLC, Stopchargingmaria sold for $47,000 as a Keeneland September yearling before being snapped up by Repole Stables as a $220,000 OBS March Selected two-year-old in training purchase earlier this year. She is the first registered foal out of the Grade 3-placed stakes-winning Montbrook mare Exotic Bloom.
Stopchargingmaria can trace her female family back to Grade 1 winner Hatchet Man, Grade 2 victor Stop the Music and classic-placed Grade 2 hero Vision and Verse, all of whom were successful sires. Her female line also includes Canadian champion Ginger Brew and multiple Grade 2 king Bourbon Bay.