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Threes Are Wild for Chad Brown in the First Lady

Trainer Chad Brown holds three of the eight entries for the First Lady Stakes (G1T) Oct. 7 at Keeneland and drew the three inside gates for the trio, who also are the likely favorites.

Gina Romantica  and In Italian , both owned by Peter Brant, drew posts 1 and 3 and sandwich Juddmonte’s Whitebeam .

In Italian, a 5-year-old Dubawi  mare, won the 2022 First Lady en route to a second-place finish behind Tuesday  in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1T) at Keeneland. She won her first two starts of 2023, the Jenny Wiley Stakes (G1T) during the Keeneland spring meeting and the Just a Game Stakes (G1T) at Belmont Park June 9.

She was last seen finishing second in the Diana Stakes (G1T) at Saratoga Race Course July 15, caught in the final strides by Whitebeam. In that race, Brown saddled four of the five starters.

The Diana victory confirmed Whitebeam as yet another star in the firmament that is the Chad Brown turf stable. The 4-year-old daughter of Caravaggio  started things off in England with three wins, a second, and a third for trainers Harry and Roger Charlton, then reported ninth in a minor stakes at Longchamp in October to wrap up her 3-year-old campaign.

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She was second in the Plenty of Grace Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack in April to open her North American account, then posted an easy win in the Gallorette Stakes (G3T) at Pimlico Race Course May 20 before progressing to the top level in the Diana, where she went to the post as the longest odds, albeit narrowly, of the four Brown-trained distaffers.

“I was shocked she got beat the first time, to be honest,” Brown said after the Diana win. “I’m so fortunate Juddmonte sent me this horse in excellent shape. The first time I breezed her, I called Garrett O’Rourke (general manager of Juddmonte) in Kentucky and I just thanked him repeatedly for sending me the horse.”

Gina Romantica, a 4-year-old Into Mischief   filly from the Unbridled’s Song mare Special Me , has more to prove than her stablemates. She finished 2023 with an upset win in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (G1T) at Keeneland, upsetting yet another Brown charge, McKulick  with a late stretch move. She hasn’t yet found her best foot this season, finishing fourth in the Eatontown Stakes (G3T) at Monmouth Park and second in the Beverly D. Stakes (G1T) at Colonial Downs.

Those looking to get the better of Brown’s juggernaut could turn to Jumbly . The 4-year-old Gleneagles  filly, trained in Ireland by Joseph Patrick O’Brien, crosses the Atlantic for the second time this year, following a third-place finish in the Ballston Spa Stakes (G2T) at Saratoga Aug. 24, beaten by long shot Evvie Jets  and yet another of Brown’s herd, Fluffy Socks .

Jumbly returned home after the upstate New York raid to finish fifth in the Matron Stakes (G1) at Leopardstown Sept. 9.

Also entered for the one-mile First Lady are the aforementioned Evvie Jets, a 5-year-old Twirling Candy   mare; New Year’s Eve , whose only graded stakes win came back in May of 2022 in the Edgewood Stakes (G2T) at Churchill Downs; Gam’s Mission , fourth in the Ballston Spa; and the cleverly-named Thisnameisokay , who has been contesting allowance and starter events on the Delaware-Maryland-Virginia circuit.

Entries: First Lady S. Presented by UK HealthCare (G1T)

Keeneland, Saturday, October 07, 2023, Race 8

  • Grade IT
  • 1m
  • Turf
  • $750,000
  • 3 yo’s & up Fillies and Mares
  • 4:43 PM (local)

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