Mrs. Danvers went virtually gate to wire to earn her first stakes success with a dominant score while trying two turns for the first time in the Comely Friday at the Big A. Seizing the early advantage, the gray loped through a :24.30 opening quarter and was confronted by longshot Project Whiskey, who pressed the pacesetter and led between calls through a :48.69 half-mile. That rival burned out quickly and fell to the back as Mrs. Danvers continued strongly on the front end. The Joe Allen homebred opened up in the lane with ease under a hand ride from Jose Lezcano to win for fun.
“We were anxious to get her stretched out,” said winning trainer Shug McGaughey. “It's just been kind of difficult to do so. This is what we felt like she wanted to do. Watching some of her allowance races, I wasn't sure I was running her right. It looked like she was going to win and then she wouldn't win. I think this is naturally what she wants to do is run this far. Being on the lead today definitely helped. I don't think it's something she needs, but going down the line she'll be forwardly placed.”
The Hall of Famer continued, “Anytime you can get a win with a filly with a pedigree like that, especially for the breeder, [Joseph Allen], it means a lot. He believed in this filly.”
“She's a nice filly,” said Lezcano. “Today, I let her break and run for the first quarter and she came back to me very nice. She was galloping along the whole way around. When I asked her to run, she jumped up in the bridle and took off.”
A second-out graduate at Saratoga in 2019, Mrs. Danvers was not seen again for 10 months, finishing second in a Belmont allowance June 20. Completing the exacta again in the same condition at Belmont July 9, she was fifth to recent GI Breeders' Cup F/M Sprint victress Gamine (Into Mischief) in Saratoga's GI Test S. Aug. 8. Missing by a head back at Belmont Sept. 17, the homebred cleared her first-level allowance condition next out going a mile at Big Sandy Oct. 25.
Mrs. Danvers is the 139th black-type winner and 87th graded winner for her sire Tapit. She is also the 78th black-type scorer and 25th graded victor out of a daughter of Awesome Again. The winner's dam Gracie Square is a half-sister to GSW and leading sire War Front (Danzig); MGSW & MGISP Teammate (A.P. Indy); MGSW Ecclesiastic (Pulpit); and recent GIII Red Smith S. winner North Dakota (Medaglia d'Oro). Gracie Square's 3-year-old colt Nathan Detroit (Union Rags) won on debut at Ellis in July and was third next out in Keeneland's GIII Bourbon S. Oct. 4 for McGaughey's son Reeve McGaughey. The 10-year-old mare is also responsible for the juvenile filly Panama Hattie (Uncle Mo) and the yearling filly Starters Orders (Munnings). Gracie Square was bred back to Tapit this spring.
COMELY S.-GIII, $100,000, Aqueduct, 11-27, 3yo, f, 1 1/8m, 1:50.09, gd.
1–MRS. DANVERS, 118, f, 3, by Tapit
1st Dam: Gracie Square, by Awesome Again
2nd Dam: Starry Dreamer, by Rubiano
3rd Dam: Lara's Star, by Forli
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. O-Allen
Stable, Inc.; B-Mr. Joseph Allen LLC (KY); T-Claude McGaughey;
J-Jose Lezcano. $55,000. Lifetime Record: 8-3-3-1, $211,800.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Werk Nick
2–Ice Princess, 122, f, 3, Palace Malice–Happy Clapper, by
Awesome Again. ($75,000 Ylg '18 SARAUG). O-Flying P Stable,
A. Hill Stable and Gargan, Danny; B-Mina Equivest LLC (NY);
T-Danny Gargan. $20,000.
3–Thankful, 118, f, 3, American Pharoah–Beholden, by Cat
Thief. ($625,000 Ylg '18 FTSAUG). O-Bass Stables, LLC;
B-Profoal Partners 3, LLC (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher. $12,000.
Margins: 6 1/4, 4, 5HF. Odds: 3.75, 6.40, 4.90.
Also Ran: Toned Up, Gale, Miss Marissa, Project Whiskey, My Sweet Wife. Scratched: Makingcents, Pure Rhythm. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.