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Mike Smith gives thanks as Proviso heads into the winner's circle after the Diana
The co-feature on Jim Dandy day was the $500,000 Diana Stakes (G1) for older fillies and mares going 1 1/8 miles on the Mellon Turf Course. Forever Together was sent off as the 9-5 favorite in the field of 7, despite being winless since capturing last year's Diana. She comes to this race off two straight runner-up finishes, in the Jenny Wiley (G2) at Keeneland and the Gamely (G1) at Hollywood Park. In to challenge her included 2-1 second choice Proviso, winner of her last two starts, the Frank Kilroe Handicap (G1) at Santa Anita followed by the Just a Game (G1) at Belmont Park, and 3-1 third choice Phola, winner of the Distaff Turf Mile (G2) at Churchill before finishing second in the Just a Game (G1).
Down the stretch with Proviso taking the lead in the center with Shared Account next to her on the inside and Forever Together on the far left.
Jockey Eibar Coa sent 19-1 longest shot Dynaslew to the early lead and she set easy fractions of 24.70, 49.41, and 1:12.91 while as many as 2 lengths in front of 8-1 Maram and Proviso who pressed her second and third respectively. Dynaslew continued to lead to the 1/8 pole through a mile in 1:35.61 as a cavalry charge ensued. Proviso made the lead at the 1/16 pole and was all-out to hold off the late-rushing 11-1 Shared Account to get the win by a head in 1:47.04 over the firm going. It was just a nose back to favorite Forever Together third, a head to pacesetter Dynaslew fourth, and a neck to Maram fifth, as 5 of the 7 horses all finished within 1/2 a length of the win.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 1 Proviso Smith 6.40 3.90 2.90 6 Shared Account Prado 9.40 4.20 4 Forever Together Leparoux 2.20 Winning Time: 1:47.04 $2 Exacta 1-6 71.50 $2 Trifecta 1-6-4 145.40 $2 Superfecta 1-6-4-5 1,124.00
Left: Proviso in the winner's circle. Her trainer Bill Mott said, "She was a little bit rank going into the first turn. It seemed like it was a pedestrian pace, but Mike Smith was able to ease out going down the backside. He was in a bit of a trap down the backside with (Maram) outside of him. Whether we want to go beyond (1 1/8 miles), I don't know. She's run at 1 1/4 before and been effective, but we'll have to sit down and decide whether we'll want to take the next step. At this moment, I don't think we have decided where we'll go. We've won three Grade 1s this year, so I suppose the heat is off. Hopefully the rest is just fun and gravy."
Right: Proviso gets hosed off before heading back to the barn.
Left: Proviso heads out for the post parade. Her jockey Mike Smith said, "To come back to Saratoga and win a Grade 1 is awesome. It wasn't a big field but it was an extremely talented field, and she got the job done. I knew it was going to be a tough race, and that no one was going to draw off and win it easily because they were all too good. She made a good move down the backside and that helped us win the race."
Right: Proviso in the paddock before the race.
Left: Second place finsher Shared Account returns after the race. Her jockey Edgar Prado said, "It was a good pace, it was the way I expected it to be. The horses with speed went to the lead but I was surprised to see Maram in there. My horse had a very nice first part of the race and I was very happy with how it went. We were waiting for the filly Forever Together to come so we could both cross the finish together at the end and that's what we did. (Shared Account) was trying real hard and she ran great but the horse in front never quit."
Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite Forever Together returns after the race. Her trainer Jonathan Sheppard said, "She ran well. It was tough for a little while to get her in high gear, but she tried hard and finished strongly. She won by a head last year. She lost by a neck this year. She's still pretty darn good. I'm proud of her."
On to the Jim Dandy Stakes
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