Tony Ann Bests Caravel At The Wire In Thrilling Franklin S. At Keeneland

Tony Ann (outside) | Coady Photography

Tony Ann, a 7-1 shot, outkicked heavily favored Caravel to the wire to earn the first stakes victory of her career in the GII Franklin S. at Keeneland Sunday. Caravel, who began a five-race win streak in last year's Franklin, broke from the rail and found herself chasing dueling pacesetters Twilight Gleaming (Ire) (National Defense {GB}) and B G Warrior (Run Away and Hide) through an opening quarter in :21.09. Tony Ann, who had raced just outside of the favorite early, fell back on the turn as Caravel attempted to reel in the pacesetters. Caravel looked to be spinning her wheels at the top of the stretch, as a resurgent Tony Ann swept to the lead. The champion battled back bravely on the inside, but could not get past Tony Ann.

“It felt like the pace was strong enough, and I was traveling really well behind Caravel, so I was pleased with my trip,” said winning jockey Flavien Prat. “When I tipped her out, she responded really well. I was a bit worried by the sixteenth pole because Caravel came back on us, but she was really game. To go by Caravel you've got to go all out, but she was really game today.”

Trained by California-based Phil D'Amato, Tony Ann was making just her third start of the year after opening the campaign with a runner-up effort in the July 28 Daisycutter S. going five furlongs over the Del Mar lawn. She headed east to be a close-up third after battling on the lead in the Sept. 9 GII AGS Ladies Turf Sprint S. at Kentucky Downs last time out.

Caravel, who followed her win in last year's Franklin with a victory in the GI Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, was suffering her second straight loss Sunday.

“The filly tried hard, but we just weren't able to get her head in front today,” said jockey Tyler Gaffalione, who was aboard the beaten favorite. “The fractions were solid, very fast, but I was content with where I was. I think my filly really struggled with the ground a bit today.”

Trainer Brad Cox said a return trip to the Breeders' Cup was still in the plans for Caravel.

“Good run, just came up a touch short,” Cox said. “I am proud of the effort. She likes it here at Keeneland and ran another great race. Breeders' Cup is definitely still something we are pointing towards. We'll see how she comes out of this race and go from there.”

Pedigree Notes:

Tony Ann's dam Never Ever is a half-sister to Grade I winner Cost of Freedom (Cee's Tizzy). She is the eighth graded stakes winner worldwide for her sire, Cairo Prince.

Sunday, Keeneland
FRANKLIN S.-GII, $336,525, Keeneland, 10-15, 3yo/up, f/m, 5 1/2fT, 1:02.42, gd.
1–TONY ANN, 120, m, 5, by Cairo Prince
                1st Dam: Never Ever, by In Excess (Ire)
                2nd Dam: Freedom Dance, by Moscow Ballet
                3rd Dam: In True Form, by Imasmartee
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. O-A Venneri Racing, Inc. and Anthony Fanticola; B-Alex Venneri Racing, LLC (KY); T-Philip D'Amato; J-Flavien Prat. $208,863. Lifetime Record: 10-5-1-3, $511,883. Werk Nick Rating: A+++. *Triple Plus* Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Click for the free catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Caravel, 124, m, 6, Mizzen Mast–Zeezee Zoomzoom, by Congrats. ($330,000 RNA 3yo '20 WANOCT; $500,000 4yo '21 FTKNOV). O-Qatar Racing LLC, Marc Detampel and Madaket Stables LLC; B-Elizabeth M. Merryman (PA); T-Brad H. Cox. $57,750.
3–Train to Artemus, 120, m, 5, Tapizar–Pay Day Kitten, by Kitten's Joy. 1ST GRADED BLACK TYPE. O-M and W Stables, LLC; B-Kenneth L. Ramsey & Sarah K. Ramsey (KY); T-Kelly J. Breen. $33,688.
Margins: NK, 3/4, HF. Odds: 7.80, 0.72, 43.20.
Also Ran: Twilight Gleaming (Ire), Wakanaka (Ire), Bay Storm, Linguistic, B G Warrior. Scratched: Star Guest (GB).
Click for the chart and the PPs. VIDEO, sponsored by FanDuel TV.

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