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Ready to Act the best in Beaumont

Ready to Act took time to enjoy the crowd on her way to victory in the Beaumont (Keeneland/Coady Photography)

Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence's Ready to Act came from last to win her first graded stakes in Sunday's Grade 2, $200,000 Beaumont Stakes at Keeneland. The Chad Brown sophomore was sent off as the 9-5 favorite and returned $5.60 for the score, but she continued to show room for improvement as was evident in her stretch run.

"She really deserved to win a Grade 2," Brown said. "She had a race as a two-year-old up in Canada (the Grade 2 Natalma on September 14 at Woodbine) where she was clearly in front and lost the jock and lost her chance to win a Grade 2. (Jockey) Javier (Castellano) did a great job once again keeping her straight. As you can see, she's a work in progress. We still have some things to work out with her, but if we do get her running straight down the lane she's probably going to gain a few lengths."

Ready to Act was bumped at the start which left her trailing the field as Richie's Party Girl went to the lead and put up opening fractions of :23 2/5 and :47 2/5.

Ready to Act was still in last after a half-mile, but shifted out five wide leaving the backstretch for running room. The three-year-old filly made a sweeping move around the far turn to engage the leaders near the top of the stretch but that's when her quirkiness came out. With her head cocked toward the grandstand she took over the lead in midstretch, but could not pull away as she seemed more interested in the crowd than the actual race. The 3-1 second choice, Sweet Whiskey made a late charge down along the rail, but Ready to Act held on for a half-length victory in the end.

Ready to Act crossed the wire in 1:28 for the about seven-furlong contest over the Polytrack.

"She gave me a good run in the last part," Castellano said. "She tried to lug in but I don't think it was a big deal. I really liked the way she settled behind the horses. First time on the Polytrack and she handled it very well. I like the way she did it today. It was a great performance."

Sweet Whiskey got up for second, three-quarters of a length in front of Katie's Eyes in third. Richie's Party Girl, Tea Time, Conspired and Co Cola rounded out the order of finish. Spring Again was scratched.

"Perfect trip," said John Velazquez, jockey of runner-up Sweet Whiskey. "That's what we wanted to do: cover up and try to make a run with her. She was tight in there inside and running a little spotty. She was squeezed in there pretty tight and she hesitated to go. We thought (the race) was going to set up (that way) and she'd be covered up. We thought she'd shoot through there but she didn't go in there like I thought she would."

Ready to Act opened her career last July in a 5 1/2-furlong turf maiden at Saratoga, where she rallied in time by a half-length. That debut success propelled her into 8-5 favoritism in the September 14 Natalma, and she looked well on her way to justifying her odds when driving two lengths clear in midstretch. Then near-disaster struck, as Ready to Act abruptly shied away from Rajiv Maragh's whip, veered in dramatically, and pitched him onto the Woodbine turf.

The daughter of More Than Ready advanced to the November 2 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita, but folded to sixth after forcing the pace. The gray dropped into an entry-level allowance over the turf at Gulfstream Park at the same distance on December 19, but wound up finishing second.

Ready to Act stayed at Gulfstream for her three-year-old debut back on January 26 and captured her first stakes in the Sweetest Chant. With Sunday's score, she banked $120,000 for her second stakes win in a row and now has a record that stands at 6-3-1-0 and $236,651 in lifetime earnings.

"We'll take her back to our base in New York and look for something there for her," Brown said.

Bred by Fred W. Hertrich III in Kentucky, Ready to Act was sold for $200,000 as a Keeneland September yearling. The aptly-named filly is the first registered foal from Always Auditioning, a winning full sister to 2008 Hollywood Gold Cup hero Mast Track. Like her famous brother, Always Auditioning was bred and trained by the late Hall of Famer Bobby Frankel. Their parents were themselves Frankel trainees -- Mizzen Mast and the Group 3-placed Nawal, who also produced the Grade 2-placed Sagitta Ra for Frankel.

The Frankel connection extends beyond her pedigree, for Brown is a protege of the great horseman.

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