First Stakes Win in Fourth Career Start for 3-Year-Old Filly
BALTIMORE, MD – Douglas Scharbauer’s Red Ghost, a homebred daughter of Hall of Famer Ghostzapper, lost the lead in mid-stretch but surged up the rail in the final strides to get her nose down on the wire and edge Eurphoric and Joyful Cadence in Friday’s $150,000 Miss Preakness (G3) at Pimlico Race Course.
The 36th running of the six-furlong Miss Preakness for 3-year-old fillies was the third of six stakes, four graded, worth $1 million in purses on a sensational 14-race Black-Eyed Susan Day program headlined by the 97th edition of the 1 1/8-mile fixture for 3-year-old fillies.
It was the first career stakes win for Red Ghost ($6.20), making her fourth career start, and second of the day for Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez following the $150,000 Allaire du Pont with Spice Is Nice.
Red Ghost is trained by Wesley Ward, winner of the 2018 Miss Preakness with Happy Like a Fool. Velazquez previously won the race in 2011 with R Holiday Mood and 2016 with Lost Raven.
Sent off as the 2-1 favorite in a field of eight, Red Ghost ran the opening quarter-mile in 22.88 seconds pressed by Euphoric on her right hip with Joyful Cadence in the clear three wide. Euphoric stuck a head in front around the turn and hit the top of the stretch with the lead, as Joyful Cadence swept up to challenge on the far outside. Those two dug in through the final eighth but it was Velazquez who coaxed more out of Red Ghost to come on again and get the win.
Eurphoric was a head in front of Joyful Cadence in the three-way photo finish, with Juror Number Four flying late after being shuffled back at the start to pick up fourth, another three lengths back. Six-time stakes winner Street Lute, making her graded debut, wound up sixth.
Red Ghost ran twice as a 2-year-old, breaking her maiden in debut and finishing well back in the 6 ½-furlong Untapable on the Kentucky Downs turf in mid-September. She didn’t race again until winning an open Keeneland allowance on the dirt April 16.
$150,000 Miss Preakness (G3) Quotes
David Flores, Assistant to Winning Trainer Wesley Ward (Red Ghost): “John [Velazquez] said she was backing up a little bit when the horses went by her. When he got after her she looked like she was not done. He felt like he had horse. She is very competitive and she was able to make a comeback.”
Winning Jockey John Velazquez (Red Ghost): “She got passed, almost a length. She was looking to the inside and the other horses passed her. She didn’t even care. She kept looking to the inside and leaning out and I got after her. I got after her at the three-sixteenths pole and she came back.”
Jockey Javier Castellano (Euphoric; 2nd): “I had a good trip. I thought I was going to win. To be honest with you, I thought I won the race. You never know. Unfortunately, I lost the bob. I saw [winner Red Ghost] coming back on the inside, but there is nothing that you can do. [John Velazquez]was already there. I just got beat. She ran really well, I am disappointed we lost but very satisfied with the way she did it. She ran a great race.”
Trainer John Ortiz (Joyful Cadence; 3rd): “Tough beat, but I couldn’t be any more proud of what she did today. She showed guts. Her last stakes race (second in the Purple Martin at Oaklawn) we saw that she had a little fight. Today, I thought we were the winner. She’s still learning. When she got in front, she probably waited up a little bit and got just a little tired. But she ran a heck of a race for sure.”
Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. (Joyful Cadence; 3rd): “She got the perfect trip, can’t complain, no excuses. She just got beat. Once she got the lead, she thought it was over. She was looking around a little bit but no excuses.”