MORTICIA WAS SCARY GOOD IN SPENDTHRIFT FARM LADIES SPRINT
It is quickly becoming the time of year when we think about ghouls, goblins, and some of that other scary stuff. The Spendthrift Farms Ladies Sprint at Kentucky Downs on September 7 saw an aptly named gal throw down a performance that was scary good to say the least.
The grade 3 trip over the Kentucky Downs turf attracted a plethora of fleet footed females from all across the country. One of those running for the $500,000 in purse money was Kentucky based Morticia. Trained by Rusty Arnold, distance questions surrounded this daughter of dam Halloween Party. With her grandsire being Candy Ride there is not much doubt about her turn of foot. With two wins in six previous starts this year coming at five and five and a half furlongs, question was could she finish in this six and a half furlong race over a course that does not necessarily favor front end speed? For Arnold, the plan was simple as he polished his product in the paddock.
“Our plan was the same as it always is, let her be her,” says Arnold. “She’s a fiery little thing and always has been. She had been a little worked up in the paddock before some races but before this one she was as composed as I have ever seen her. She wants to be out front and we are not going to change that. We just wanted her to settle early and run comfortably.”
When the gates opened, Arnold’s charge bolted to the front in fine fashion. Throwing down a frighteningly fast early fraction (22.55 opening quarter), you had to wonder if the coffin would close in the home stretch as it had on so many front-runners in the previous 28 races of the Kentucky Downs meet. Much to her credit, Morticia worked some of the black magic and finished with a flourish. Taming the other talent as if it were Uncle Fester and Cousin It, she almost made it look too easy. Crossing the finish line 1 ¾ lengths ahead of California invader A Little Bit Me, Morticia turned in a quick final time of 1:15.85.
“She outbroke the gate today and was settled early which was great,” says Arnold. “She left there and was right where we wanted her to be. I liked she was in front by a couple lengths turning for home but she has been caught before. When she got to the sixteenth pole and was still moving good I felt pretty confident.”
The win was the 10th lifetime victory in 25 starts for the five-year old female. Pushing her career bankroll to $992,149, Morticia provided her conditioner with a stakes double on the day as he had previously saddled Totally Boss, winner of the Breeders’ Cup win and you’re in Runhappy Turf Sprint. Both were no doubt rewarding, but Morticia’s hair-raising haul was one for the Ouija board.
“That may have been her best race ever,” says the Kentucky based trainer. “We love Kentucky Downs and there are a lot of nice horses here. We brought some good ones over. She capped off a great day for our team.”