Upperline makes history in Dowager
"She's been a superstar from the beginning," Stidham said. "She's been tough in all of her races, and we're just happy that she was able to do it like this.
"We're just sorry we hadn't started running her a mile and a half a long time ago. James (Graham) rode her great, and she's a great mare."
The 64-1 longshot For the Win went to the front through fractions of :25 2/5 and :51, but Ciao Bella joined her through six furlongs 1:16 2/5. Upperline, who had been tracking in the next flight just behind Ciao Bella, also took closer order when that rival moved forward down the backstretch. Ciao Bella took over through a mile in 1:43, and Upperline again covered her move.
Ciao Bella and Upperline both pulled away from the rapidly-weakening For the Win on the final turn. Although Ciao Bella maintained the lead after 1 1/4 miles in 2:08 2/5, Upperline was relentless on the outside. The three-year-old likewise tried to repel her older rival and gamely kept fighting back down the lane.
Ciao Bella saved second by a neck from Janicellaine, who despite pulling fiercely in the early going, produced a fine late kick to grab third. Senada, the defending champion who had beaten Upperline in last year's Dowager, was along for fourth. Next came Bubbly Jane, Thislilsoulofmine, Revelstoke, Maid of Heaven, Heart of Destiny, Charming She Is and the tailed-off For the Win.
Upperline has been a graded stakes performer in each of her four seasons of racing. At two, she placed in the Grade 2 Golden Rod in a rare foray on dirt, as well as the Top Flight over Arlington's Polytrack. She would go on to excel over turf and synthetic surfaces. As a sophomore in 2010, the bay captured the Grade 3 Arlington Oaks and finished third in the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride.
Last season, Upperline annexed the Trillium at Woodbine and a pair of Fair Grounds stakes, the Bayou and Allen Lacombe Memorial Handicaps. She concluded 2011 with a close second in the Dowager, her first attempt at this 1 1/2-mile distance. She would not lose again in her two subsequent efforts at the trip, the April 26 Bewitch and Sunday's Dowager.
Upperline's other 2012 highlights include a four-length romp in the Grade 3 Arlington Matron, near-miss seconds as the defending champion in both the Bayou and Trillium, and thirds in the Grade 3 Modesty Handicap and the Spinster last time out.
Bred by Stonerside Stable in Kentucky, Upperline is out of the Group 1-placed Caerleon mare Snowflake, making her a half-sister to stakes scorer Snow Fall. Upperline's second dam is Ivyanna, heroine of the Group 1 Oaks d'Italia in 1992. This is the family of a few redoubtable stayers -- Group 2 victor Distinction, who placed in two editions of the Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup; multiple stakes winner and Group 3-placed Ivy Creek; and multiple stakes scorer and Group 2-placed Electrolyser, who just ran fourth in the Group 3 British Champions Long Distance Cup on Saturday.
Upperline's fourth dam is noted matron Durga.
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