Defending champion Selcourt loomed as the class of the field in Sunday’s $76,200 Kalookan Queen at Santa Anita, but the 1-5 favorite was upstaged by 16-1 shot Spring Lily. Trained by John Shirreffs for Pam and Martin Wygod, Spring Lily shook free down the stretch to earn her first stakes victory.
Selcourt got off to a bobbling start, then swiftly found her stride to press Lake Time and Spring Lily through an opening quarter in :21.99. As Lake Time began to bow out and Spring Lily appeared to get outpaced, Selcourt put her head in front at the half in :44.39. Now the Grade 2 heroine was poised to rebound from her subpar 12th in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1).
Spring Lily, however, hung tough on the inside. When Selcourt floated a bit wider out turning for home, Spring Lily cornered well and gained the upper hand. The favorite sputtered in the final furlong, leaving Spring Lily to open up by 2 1/4 lengths on the wire. Under Evin Roman, the winner covered 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.55 on the fast track.
“When Selcourt drifted out, we stayed inside and my filly finished very strong,” Roman said. “She tries very hard.”
“This filly likes to be head and head,” Shirreffs said. “She battles back. She doesn’t give it up…You have to take it away from her. I could see down the backside that it looked like Evin had her into the bridle, which was encouraging. Whenever Evin has ridden her, she’s been forwardly placed.”
Selcourt was 3 3/4 lengths clear of third-placer Tyfosha. Lake Time retreated to fourth, and Way to Versailles trailed throughout. Lady Suebee, a stablemate of Selcourt’s, was scratched after finishing second in Saturday’s off-the-turf Las Cienegas. Selcourt was herself cross-entered to both, with trainer John Sadler preferring this spot.
Bred by Emily Wygod in Kentucky, Spring Lily RNA’d for $90,000 as a weanling at Keeneland November. She now sports a mark of 9-3-0-3, $147,075. Her best previous stakes results were a pair of distant thirds in last year’s Santa Ysabel (G3) and Torrey Pines (G3), both around two turns, but she’s proven more effective around one. All three of her wins have come at this 6 1/2-furlong trip, including her maiden score here and an entry-level allowance at Del Mar.
Spring Lily is by Union Rags and out of the Bertrando mare Taro, who is in turn a full sister to multiple Grade 2-winning turf miler Liberian Freighter. This is the extended family of turf millionaire Memories of Silver, dam of fellow multiple Grade 1 star Winter Memories and Grade 3 queen La Cloche, who’s responsible for Saturday’s Marshua’s River (G3) winner Bellavais.