Dream Lith wore down a determined Yuugiri inside the final furlong and sprung an upset in Saturday’s $400,000 Golden Rod S. (G2) at Churchill Downs.
Sporting blinkers for the first time following distant fifth-place efforts in the Spinaway (G1) and Alcibiades (G1), Dream Lith responded well to both the equipment change and the drop in class at odds of 9-1.
Making her bid from sixth around the far turn under Ramon Vazquez, Dream Lith ate into the precarious lead held by Yuugiri, who had set the pace from the start in the 1 1/16-mile fixture. Dream Lith edged clear late to win by one length in a time of 1:44.72 over a fast track.
“I got her into a comfortable rhythm early in the race and just let her do her thing,” Vasquez said. “I knew I had a lot of horse and I was confident she’d be able to fight with (Yuugiri) in the stretch. She’s a very nice filly and has a good future in front of her.”
Owned by Cypress Creek Equine and Arnold Bennewith, the Robertino Diodoro-trained filly paid $20.20.
Yuugiri easily held second by 3 1/4 lengths over 4-5 favorite Sandstone, who took a run in the stretch but couldn’t catch the speedy runner-up. Second choice Famed was a non-contending fourth and was followed by Secret Oath, Code for Success, Cancel This, and Hal’s Dream.
A 2022 Road to the Kentucky Oaks series prep, the Golden Rod awarded qualifying points of 10-4-2-1 to the top four finishers. All four are making their first appearances on the Oaks point leaderboard.
Dream Lith, who has now bankrolled $313,455. An 36-1 upset winner of her debut Aug. 8 at Saratoga going 6 1/2 furlongs, she subsequently finished 12 1/2 lengths behind Echo Zulu, the presumptive division champion, in the Spinaway. Her margin of defeat was only 5 3/4 lengths when a dead-heat fifth to Juju’s Map in the Alcibiades at Keeneland last month.
Bred in Kentucky by Southern Equine Stables, Dream Lith is by Medaglia d’Oro and out of Elle Sueno, a daughter of Street Cry and Grade 1 winner Mi Sueno. Dream Lith’s third dam, Madcap Escapade, also won at Grade 1 level.
In the nightcap, Marissa’s Lady made it two wins in as many starts in the $200,000 Fern Creek S., a 6 1/2-furlong dash for juvenile fillies. She won by one length from 17-10 favorite Matareya in a time of 1:16.85
Owned by the Boone Family Trust and Tillema Family Trust, the daughter of Violence is trained by Bill Morey. She won by a head on debut at Churchill on Oct. 31.