(Four Graces wins the G3 Beaumont Stakes / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)
From the G3 Beaumont Stakes:
In the race prior to the Maker’s Mark Mile, Whitham Thoroughbreds’ homebred Four Graces set a track record by winning the 35th running of the $100,000 Beaumont (G3) Presented by Keeneland Select by 4¾ lengths over Sconsin. She covered the Beard Course of 7 furlongs, 184 feet over a fast main track in 1:24.90 for a stakes and track record.
Jockey Julien Leparoux put Four Graces on the lead with second choice Wicked Whisper just to her outside as the two raced through early fractions of :22.29 and :44.37.
At the head of the stretch, Four Graces put Wicked Whisper away, opened a daylight margin and cruised to the finish line well clear of Sconsin. For Leparoux, it is his third Beaumont victory with previous wins coming in 2009 with War Kill and 2016 with Lightstream.
Trained by Ian Wilkes, Four Graces picked up 20 points toward the $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) on Sept. 4 and hiked her total to 40, a figure that ranks 12th. The Oaks is limited to the top 14 point earners to pass the entry box.
The victory was worth $60,000 and boosted Four Graces’ earnings to $194,450 with a record of 5-4-0-0. It was her third consecutive victory and second Grade 3 having won the Dogwood at Churchill last month.
Four Graces is a Kentucky-bred daughter of Majesticperfection out of the Seeking the Gold mare Ivory Empress. She returned $3.40, $2.40 and $2.10. Sconsin, who picked up her initial eight Oaks points, paid $3.20 and $2.40 under James Graham. Turtle Trax, who finished 4¾ lengths back in third under Brian Hernandez Jr. and paid $3 to show. Wilkes also trains Turtle Trax, who picked up four Oaks points to raise her total to six.
Wicked Whisper (12 Oaks points) finished fourth followed by Slam Dunk.
Beaumont Presented by Keeneland Select Quotes
Winning rider Julien Leparoux: “She’s a fast filly. The track is pretty quick today too. But she was doing it very nicely for me in a good rhythm. That’s the way she likes to run – free – and she makes that big kick at the end.
“I’m surprised we broke the track record, really. But she’s getting much better right now and she’s doing very good.”
Winning trainer Ian Wilkes:
On what he was thinking when he saw the fractions: “I was watching Julien and the filly, and he hadn’t asked her. She’s got her ears flipping back and forth, so I was quite comfortable with her. Then I was switching back and watching Turtle (Trax, his horse who finished third) too.”
Would you consider stretching her back out to a route of ground at some point? “No, not right now. I’ll talk to (owner) Mrs. (Janis) Whitham and (most likely) we’ll point to the Test (G1, going 7 furlongs on Aug. 8 at Saratoga).”