Bill Cubbedge’s Molly Morgan ducked inside of pace-setting Sweet Whiskey at the head of the stretch, spurted clear of the field and then held off late bids from favored Sheer Drama and Gold Medal Dancer to win the 30th running of the $300,000 La Troienne (GI) Presented by Twinspires.com by three-quarters of a length.
Trained by Dale Romans and ridden by Corey Lanerie, Molly Morgan covered the 1 1/16 miles on a fast main track in 1:43.25.
The victory, the third graded stakes victory at Churchill Downs for Molly Morgan, was worth $169,260 and increased her earnings to $872,859 with a record of 29-8-4-8. Last year she won the Chilukki (GII) and Fleur De Lis (GII) here.
Sweet Whiskey led the field of nine early with token pressure from Gold Medal Dancer as My Miss Sophia and Sheer Drama raced in the second flight. Positions were unchanged until the top of the lane when Sweet Whiskey drifted off the inside and allowed a hole to open for Molly Morgan, who shot through and never trailed again.
Molly Morgan is a 6-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter by Ghostzapper out of the Distorted Humor mare Capitulation.
Molly Morgan returned $13, $5.40 and $3.20. Sheer Drama, who gained the place spot by a head, returned $4 and $2.80 under Joe Bravo with Gold Medal Dancer finishing third under Luis Quinonez and returning $2.80.
It was three-quarters of a length back to Tiz Windy in fourth. She was followed in order by My Miss Sophia, Interest Free, America, Sweet Whiskey and Frivolous.
LA TROIENNE PRESENTED BY TWINSPIRES.COM QUOTES
COREY LANERIE, jockey of MOLLY MORGAN (winner)
“I was able to worm my way right over to the inside. I was following Javier (Castellano) on My Miss Sophia, because I thought he had the horse to beat. It looked like about the 5/16ths pole he wasn’t going anywhere, so I kind of dove inside him. I got some momentum going. I was lucky the rail never shut down on me and I was able to keep the momentum until I got through there.”
DALE ROMANS, trainer of MOLLY MORGAN (winner)
“The race went well. (Owner) Bill (Cubbedge) let me sit on her this winter as we didn’t turn her out. We just let her stay in training and get her feet back under her. I told Bill this is what helps winning big races down the road. She came with a good performance last time and the race at Gulfstream set her up perfectly for today.”
JOE BRAVO, jockey of SHEER DRAMA (second)
“She’s a very nice filly. She just gets better and better. She’s improving. She ran a big race but got beat today.”
DAVID FAWKES, trainer of SHEER DRAMA (second)
“She ran a huge race. It’s unfortunate she didn’t get the job done. The horse snuck inside her. She was on the outside, but I wanted to be on the outside. I think the track’s a little better in the middle. I have no beefs. She tried so hard. She ran all the way to the wire.”
LUIS QUINONEZ, jockey of GOLD MEDAL DANCER (third)
“We got a good trip. The plan was to break good and she kind of placed forward and she did and she was in good position all the way around turning for home and she moved real good. They just outran her. She gave me 100 percent."
DONNIE VON HEMEL, trainer of GOLD MEDAL DANCER (third)
“We’re happy, she ran a good race and we just got beat a length and a nose and I thought turning for home we had a big shot. She looked good when she came back.”