Breeders' Cup Triumph for Stopchargingmaria
Top class mare Stopchargingmaria (4m Tale of the Cat x Exotic Bloom, by Montbrook) turned in a career best performance to win the $1.8 million Grade I Breeders' Cup Distaff at Keeneland on Friday. A dual Grade I winner last year for the Todd Pletcher stable, Stopchargingmaria was sent to the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November Breeding Stock Sale last year by her owner Mike Repole, but left the ring unsold when bidding stalled at $3.15 million. A daughter of outstanding sire Tale of the Cat, she was later sold privately to Louise and Kiki Courtelis’s Town and Country Farms, who decided to leave her with Todd Pletcher to race on. That decision has been a good one! Stopchargingmaria proved too good for the star three year-old fillies, rallying hard in the straight to hold off all challengers to take the 1 and 1/18th mile contest by a neck before surviving a protest from the runner-up Stellar Wind. “You’re concerned anytime there is an inquiry or an objection, but I felt pretty comfortable watching the head-on that we were going to be OK,” said Todd Pletcher. “The real key was when we made the decision not to run back after the Personal Ensign and train her up to this. “Being able to train her in her 2 and 3-year-old years that she runs her best races sometimes when she’s fresh. I think that was the key, and how she trained here. I thought her work here on Saturday was exceptional.” Stopchargingmaria has the overall record of nine wins and four placings from 16 starts with prizemoney topping $2.9 million and is the first winner for stakes-winner Exotic Bloom, who comes from the family of Grade II winners Vision and Verse and Bourbon Bay.