Justa Lady Wins Richard R. Scherer Memorial at the Fair Grounds

12-1-2018 Justa Lady, with James Graham (black cap) aboard, gets ahead in front of Brielle’s Appeal and She’s All Skeet to win the Richard R. Scherer Memorial Stakes at the Fair Grounds. Hodges Photography / Amanda Hodges Weir

From Ryan Martin, The Fair Grounds Media Team:

Curtis Green’s Justa Lady edged out Brielle’s Appeal in the final strides of the $75,000 Richie Scherer Memorial Stakes, the Saturday featured event at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots over a firm Stall-Wilson Turf Course.

Guided by jockey James Graham, the 5-year-old daughter of More Than Ready was never far from the front throughout the early stages of the five furlong turf sprint and laid just a half-length in second behind Brielle’s Appeal  who set opening fractions of 21.49 and 44.28. Just past the quarter pole, Justa Lady challenged Brielle’s Appeal and took command by a half-length, but the pacesetter did not give up too easily and fought gamely to the inside. However, Justa Lady was able to hang on and win by a nose in a final time of 1:03.20. She’s All Skeet was a late closing third.

Completing the order of finish were One Last Shot, Sanity, Wild About Star, Unbridled Courage, Our Valor, On Probation, Deer Valley, Contributing, Boom Bam Bing, Stonefactor and Excessivespending.

The victory was current leading jockey James Graham’s 14th trip to the Fair Grounds winner’s circle this meet.

“This filly has got a lot of heart,” Graham said. “She did everything right and thanks to (Hall of Fame trainer) Steve (Asmussen) for letting me ride her. Things have fallen into place this meet. The horses that I’ve been riding have been running well and they’re leading me on them to ride them and I’m happy about that. I rode a lot of winners for Richie here from when I had the bug to when he passed and he’s sadly missed on the backside. He is one of the greatest guys I’ve ever been around with horses.”

Justa Lady scored her second stakes victory in the Richie Scherer Memorial. In September 2017, she won the Tellike Stakes at Louisiana Downs. Saturday’s victory was also a second straight win for Justa Lady. Last out she triumphed against allowance company over a firm grass course at Remington Park on September 1. The win in the Richie Scherer Memorial Stakes was Justa Lady’s seventh career win in 22 starts and added $45,000 to her lifetime earnings which now stand at $353,745.

 

Justa Lady rewarded her backers in the form of payouts of $16.60, $7.80 and $5.60 while Brielle’s Appeal returned $6.40 and $8.40. She’s All Skeet paid $7.40.

 

Bred in Kentucky by her owner, Justa Lady is out of the Pulpit broodmare Bet To Win, who was a two-time winner and graded stakes placed.

 

That’s very, very special to do it at Tampa Bay,” an emotional O’Connell said after Well Defined’s two-and-three-quarter length victory from a charging Kentucky Wildcat in 1:42.70 for the mile-and-a-sixteenth, .26 seconds off 2018 winner Flameaway’s stakes record. So Alive finished a distant third, with the 19-10 favorite, Knicks Go, getting nipped for fourth at the wire by Counter Offer.

“He’s had little things that have happened and he’s grown up mentally and physically, and today he showed up with his game face on,” O’Connell said of the Florida-bred Well Defined, a son of With Distinction by Fru Fru, out of Medaglia d’Oro. “I like this horse a lot and the decision (on what’s next) will be up to the owners (Gilbert and Marilyn Campbell’s Stonehedge, LLC), but we just want him healthy. Maybe the (Grade II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on March 9) – who knows.”

“His rear end slipped out from underneath him in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile,” she said, “and he was compromised on early position when he ran in the Mucho Macho Man and got bottled up inside. He’s a young horse who is improving, mind-wise and everything-wise.”

KATHLEEN O’CONNELL, TRAINER OF WINNER WELL DEFINED
  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

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