09/15/2016 11:04PM

Al's Gal takes Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon

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Reed Palmer Photography
Al's Gal and jockey Florent Geroux win the Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon by 1 1/2 lengths Thursday.

FRANKLIN, Ky. – Kentucky Downs’s meet titlists – owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey, trainer Mike Maker, and jockey Florent Geroux – put an exclamation point on their successful meet on closing day Thursday when Al’s Gal took the $199,700 Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon.

Hustled out of the gate by Geroux, Al’s Gal was more forwardly placed than usual in the Ladies Marathon, a race relatively void of speed. She settled in second into the first turn of the 1 5/16-mile race and advanced to take the lead on the backstretch. She seemed headed to catch a breather at that stage, but she instead quickly found other company when Salama surged alongside her entering the second turn.

In tight quarters, Geroux took Al’s Gal back off her inside position and angled her to the outside, and from that point, she made a long, steady run to regain the lead. From there, she maintained a 1 1/2-length advantage over 30-1 longshot runner-up Paige at the finish.

Oakley Girl ran third, and Trophee, the 5-1 second betting choice, was fourth.

The winner, a 5-year-old daughter of English Channel whom the Ramseys claimed for $35,000 in February 2015, raced 1 5/16 miles on a firm turf course in 2:12.16. She paid $3.40.

Ken Ramsey said after the race that she was claimed for her pedigree and how her bloodlines would match up with a future mating with his stallion, Kitten’s Joy. He said he was pleased that she improved enough to win a race like the Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon and run second in the Grade 1 Beverly D. in her prior start.

“You never expect them to do that well,” he said. “We’ve been blessed.”

Al’s Gal was only unfortunate Thursday in her purse winnings. Because she was bred in Pennsylvania, she wasn’t eligible for the entire $350,000 purse of the race that included a $200,000 supplement for Kentucky-bred horses. She made $88,350 for her first-place finish, while the runner-up made $66,500 because she is a Kentucky-bred.

Bigger tests may lie ahead for Al’s Gal. Ramsey said he would consider running her in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf in November at Santa Anita.