06/26/2010 12:00AM

Albarado makes right choice in Debutante

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Jockey Robby Albarado knew better than anyone the strengths of the two favorites in Saturday's for 2-year-old fillies at Churchill Downs, having ridden both 3-5 favorite Salty Strike and 9-5 Just Louise in their first-out victories at the track last month.

Although the former was the more dominant winner of the two, Albarado said he was impressed by how Just Louise had won her debut after a troubled start, winning from off the pace. That effort, which came following a slow start, left a mark with him, he said, influencing his decision to ride her.

Saturday in the Debutante, his high opinion of Just Louise was proven correct, with Just Louise winning the Debutante by a neck over an onrushing Tristanme with Salty Strike a nose behind the runner-up in third.

Albarado said her drawing post 6 in a seven-horse field proved to be a key to the race, noting that he "wasn't committed" to having to send his filly from the start. Ultimately, that led to victory in the race,

In contrast to Salty Strike, who pressed longshot Big Sweet through a fast opening quarter in 21.14 seconds, Albarado was able to rate Just Louise in third early behind the dueling leaders, before surging to the front with a half-mile in 44.73 seconds.

At that point Just Louise seemed home free, but in a matter of strides Salty Strike battled back, re-taking the lead in midstretch. But the winner found a little more in the lane, and edged clear in the closing strides.

Tristanme, well behind the leader in fourth for much of the race, rallied belatedly to grab the runner-up spot, aided in great part by the leading duo covering the final furlong of the six-furlong race for juveniles in over 14 seconds.

Just Louise is a daughter of a Five Star Day out of Kings Lynn, making her a half-sister to graded stakes winner Sara Louise. She raced six furlongs in a slow 11:85 and paid $5.60 as the second choice.

Dale Romans trained the winner for owner Eldon Farm Equine.