How Serena's Song became the all-time leading money-winning female thoroughbred Saturday at Churchill Downs wasn't exactly what owners Bob and Beverly Lewis and trainer Wayne Lukas had in mind.
They hoped the 4-year-old daughter of Rahy would verify her 1-2 odds and roll past the opposition in the $200,000 Churchill Downs Distaff.
Instead, she lost for the seventh consecutive time and only held on to second by a nose, earning $45,040 and moving past Dance Smartly on the money list. Serena's Song, who has 18 wins, 11 seconds and three thirds in 38 career starts, has banked $3,283,398 compared to $3,263,836 for Dance Smartly.
Ridden by Donna Barton, who is winless three times with her, Serena's Song tracked a fast pace, moved wide on the turn, took the lead, drew clear, then weakened late to be beaten by three-quarters of a length by Fast Catch, who paid $66.60. The winning time was 1:36 1/5.
Bedroom Blues, a 15-1 shot, just missed catching Serena's Song in a race where the final quarter of a mile was run in 26 4/5 seconds.
"I'm disappointed," Lukas said. "She ran very well, maybe one of her better races. Donna rode her perfectly. She did exactly what I wanted."
Back from a successful road trip, High Heeled Hope did exactly what she was supposed to do in the $102,900 Maker's Mark Saturday at Hollywood Park.
The 1-2 favorite against only three other 2-year-old fillies, the daughter of Salt Lake won for the third consecutive time, beating 13-1 shot Guthrie by 3 1/2 lengths in 1:22 4/5 for the seven furlongs.
After winning one of her first three starts in California, High Heeled Hope finished seventh at 23-1 in the Spinaway at Saratoga, then put together successive wins at Keeneland for owner Ernie Paragallo's Paraneck Stable and trainer Randy Bradshaw.
Ridden by Alex Solis, High Heeled Hope sat third while Exhilaration and Guthrie set a moderate pace, then came around them and won going away.
"It really turned out to be an easy race for her," Solis said. "I just had to track the speed and keep her out of trouble. [Bradshaw] had her ready. Hopefully, she'll go a distance and we'll be in good shape."
High Heeled Hope will get her a chance at a distance next month. Bradshaw said he plans on trying her in the $150,000 Hollywood Starlet on Dec. 14. That race is 1 1/16 miles.
"She's a big, kind of blocky filly by Salt Lake, who basically was a sprinter," he said. "The thing with her is she has a good mind. She's going to be able to relax and that's a key for a horse to go long. If she's going to do it, it's going to be this year at two.
Guthrie, the longest shot in the small field, finished two lengths ahead of 2-1 second choice Exhilaration and it was a half-length back to Clever Princess, who ran three days after finishing third in the Jim Hill Stakes on opening day.
Bradshaw will try to complete a sweep of the weekend stakes when he sends out Thisnearlywasmine against only four opponents in the $100,000 Hollywood Prevue at seven furlongs.
The career of Dernier Empereur is over. Very impressive in Monday's Carleton F. Burke Handicap on Oak Tree's closing day, the 6-year-old son of Trempolino broke the cannon bone in his left front leg while galloping Saturday morning at Hollywood Park.
Owned by Gary Tanaka and trained by Ben Cecil, Dernier Empereur finished with eight wins in 30 starts and earnings of $1,150,082.
Horse Racing Notes
Jockey Pat Valenzuela, who hasn't ridden since Oct. 24, isn't expected back any time soon. He served a five-day suspension at the end of the Oak Tree meeting, then decided to take a vacation, according to agent Jerry Ingordo, who is on his second tour of duty with the much-troubled rider. "I don't know if he'll ride by the end of the year," Ingordo was quoted as saying. "He's depressed. It's always a personal problem. I know that better than anyone else."