(Scylla wins the G2 Fleur de Lis Stakes at Churchill Downs on Saturday/ Photos by Holly M. Smith)

From the Churchill Downs Media Team / Darren Rogers and Kevin Kerstein:

SCYLLA RALLIES TO WIN GRADE II, $500,000 FLEUR DE LIS, SURVIVES INQUIRY

 

Juddmonte’s regally bred homebred Scylla, winner of the $275,000 Shawnee (Grade III) four weeks ago, continued her ascent in the filly and mare division as the 4-year-old closed from last into a modest pace to defeat Shotgun Hottie by a neck and survive a stewards’ inquiry and jockey’s objection ’gwen route to a victory in Saturday’s 49th running of the $499,000 Fasig-Tipton Fleur de Lis (GII) at Churchill Downs.

FLEUR DE LIS QUOTES

Javier Castellano (jockey, Scylla, winner): “This was the first start she went a mile-and-an-eighth and I thought she handled it very well to get the longer distance. She’s been one who’s kept improving in each of her starts to get to the next level. At the top of the stretch she came in a little bit but I corrected her left handed and she finished strongly to the wire.”

Kenny McCarthy (assistant trainer, Scylla, winner): “Coming into this race we knew she’d have to run her best race of her career. There were some very nice horses in this field as to be expected in a Grade II. She handled the longer distance test very well. She’s been great to have in our barn and keeps showing she can improve and step up to the next level of competition. I’m sure even bigger races are on the horizon.”

Garrett O’Rourke (general manager Juddmonte Farms USA, Syclla, winner): “We had to sweat things out today with the inquiry but we are very proud to have won this race. She’s a beautifully filly and getting better every time she runs. It’s extra special with her dam (Close Hatches) being a champion in her own right and producing talented runners here for us. I’m not sure where we’ll head next but we’re extremely pleased seeing her win again.”

Story: 

          Scylla, a full sister to $3.7 million-earner Tactius and Ohio Derby (GIII) winner Batten Down, clocked 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.45 under Javier Castellano, who rode the winner for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.

“This was the first start she went a mile-and-an-eighth and I thought she handled it very well to get the longer distance,” Castellano said. “She’s been one who’s kept improving in each of her starts to get to the next level.”

          Free Like a Girl led the compact field of six fillies and mares through ordinary early fractions of :24.07, :48.83 and 1:12.84 with Taxed on her right hip, Shotgun Hottie stalking from the inside and Occult,Xigera and Scylla relaxing behind.

          Midway through the final turn, Taxed poked her head in front and Scylla launched an eye-catching six-wide sweeping move into contention. At the three-sixteenths pole, Scylla briefly lugged in and brushed Xigera, who also made contact with Occult to her inside down the stretch. Scylla surged past Taxed nearing the sixteenth pole and held off Shotgun Hottie, who rallied up the rail.

          Xigera’s jockey Julien Leparoux made a claim of foul against Scylla and Castellano and Occult’s riderIrad Ortiz Jr., but after an inquiry, Kentucky Horse Racing Commission stewards made no change to the order of finish.

“At the top of the stretch she came in a little bit but I corrected her left handed and she finished strongly to the wire,” Castellano said.

Scylla paid $3.82, $2.52 and $2.10 as the odds-on 4-5 favorite. Shotgun Hottie, with jockey Paco Lopezaboard, paid $3.06 and $2.66 as the 3-1 second betting choice. Taxed, at 13-1 under Brian Hernandez Jr., was another length back in third and returned 4.10.

Occult, Xigera and Free Like a Girl rounded out the field.

Scylla, a daughter of Tapit out of the First Defence mare Close Hatches, improved her overall record to 5-1-1 in seven starts, and the $306,210 first prize boosted her career earnings to $721,045. She was bred in Kentucky.

“We had to sweat things out today with the inquiry but we are very proud to have won this race,” said Garrett O’Rourke, General Manager for Juddmonte Farms USA. “She’s a beautifully filly and getting better every time she runs. It’s extra special with her dam being a champion in her own right and producing talented runners here for us. I’m not sure where we’ll head next but we’re extremely pleased seeing her win again.”

This marked the second graded stakes win of Scylla’s career. Previously, she won the Shawnee at Churchill Downs by 3 ¼ lengths in her stakes debut.

“Coming into this race we knew she’d have to run her best race of her career,” said Mott’s chief Kentucky assistant Kenny McCarthy. “There were some very nice horses in this field as to be expected in a Grade II. She handled the longer distance test very well. She’s been great to have in our barn and keeps showing she can improve and step up to the next level of competition. I’m sure even bigger races are on the horizon.”