Centre Court justifies 3-2 favoritism in Regret
Louise I. and G. Watts Humphrey Jr. Revocable Trust's homebred Centre Court was sent off the 3-2 favorite in Saturday's Grade 3, $114,200 Regret Stakes at Churchill Downs following a 4 3/4-length maiden victory on May 19 under the Twin Spires, and rewarded her many backers with a one-length win. The Smart Strike filly paid $5, $3.40 and $3 for completing nine furlongs on the firm turf 1:48 1/5 for trainer Rusty Arnold and jockey Javier Castellano.
Zapper Belle set the opening half-mile marks in :23 3/5 and :48 2/5 while tracked by Singn on Themoon to her outside. Castellano kept Centre Court out of the fracas just in behind while three wide but sent her on as Singn on Themoon suddenly moved up to take over through three-quarters in 1:12 3/5. The two leaders quickly fell to the wayside, though, as Centre Court hit the front entering the lane.
The Kentucky homebred drifted out a bit in the stretch and bumped with Colonial Flag but never let it slow her down as she pulled off late to capture her stakes debut.
Colonial Flag was game in defeat as the near 4-1 second choice, a half-length in front of third-placer Treasured Up. Left a Message came next and was followed by Silver Hustler, Dame Marie, Heart of Destiny, Funny Proposition, Zapper Belle, 5-1 third pick Coup and Singn on Themoon.
Centre Court made her career debut last July on Churchill's main track, finishing a well-beaten fifth on that occasion, and wasn't seen in competition again until showing up to make her sophomore bow on the turf at Gulfstream Park on March 3. She missed by just a head that day, then returned on Keeneland's grass in April to once again be second. The dark bay miss returned to Churchill last out to finally earn that elusive first score, and now boasts a 5-2-2-0, $119,467, career record.
Centre Court is out of the Grade 2-winning A.P. Indy mare Let, who placed in the 1998 Grade 1 Ashland Stakes before going on in the breeding shed to produce Grade 3 victor Ravel. Let is a half-sister to Eagle Cafe, winner of the 2002 Japan Cup Dirt, as well as the dam of dual stakes victress Marianne Rose.
Centre Court's third dam is the Grade 3-winning Damascus mare Doubles Partner, who is a daughter of French Group 3 victress Fabuleux Jane. Other foals of Fabuleux Jane, who was third in the 1977 runnings of the Group 1 Prix de Diane and Group 1 Prix Vermeille, include Grade 1-winning stallion Joyeux Danseur and listed-scoring sire Fabuleux Dancer.
Fabuleux Jane is a half-sibling to English and French champion sprinter Ajdal; Grade 1 queen Flying Partner, who ran third in the 1982 Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks; and English Group 1 diva Formidable. However, the mare is probably best known for being the granddam of champion stallion Arazi and English highweight sire Noverre.
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