11/03/2012 5:19PM

Churchill Downs: Brushed by a Star wins stretch duel in Chilukki

Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
Brushed by a Star (left), with Corey Lanerie riding, holds off Joyful Victory to win the Chilukki.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Saturday's Grade 2, $169,900 Chilukki Stakes at Churchill Downs didn't transpire the way the connections of Brushed by a Star expected - except for the end result - with their filly winning by a head over a game Joyful Victory.

Expected to be prominent early, Brushed by a Star was surprising fifth for the opening three-quarters of the one-mile Chilukki, as Spectacular Sky and Juanita set the pace with fractions of 23.37 seconds, 46.88, and 1:11.80.

As she is not known for her closing punch, this seemingly left her in a precarious position, but she responded when it mattered most. She caught the front-runners and edged Joyful Victory in a thrilling stretch duel.

Winning jockey Corey Lanerie, back at Churchill Downs after riding Friday at Santa Anita, where he rode Moonwalk to a seventh-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, quipped after the race that his cross-country travels might have contributed to the tight finish.

"I hate to say it, but mine might have been running out of jock," he said.

More likely, Joyful Victory was simply game in defeat. She was coming back on the winner in the closing strides after Brushed by a Star was seemingly on her way to a more comfortable win.

Salty Strike, 9-5 favorite, ran third, 5 1/2 lengths behind the winner.

Lanerie said the plan had been to sit in third early, hopefully ahead of Salty Strike. But when she was outsprinted in the opening stages, he opted to track the leaders, and even waited for Salty Strike and Joyful Victory to hook up on the final turn before asking his mare for her run.

Brushed by a Star, a 4-year-old daughter of Eddington owned by the Team Forster partnership group and trained by Grant Forster, raced a mile in 1:37.16 over a fast track. She paid $15.40.

The Chilukki, her second graded stakes win of the year following the Grade 2 Molly Pitcher on July 29 at Monmouth Park, could not have come at a more opportune time. She is in Monday's Fasig-Tipton November sale.

"We're going to sell with a reserve," said Forster. "If we get a fair price, then we'll sell her. If we don't ,we'll look forward to racing her next year."

** Earlier Saturday at Churchill Downs, Delaunay ($4) won the $67,600 Bet On Sunshine by 5 1/2 lengths, a race after he upset Smile Stakes winner Gantry at Louisiana Downs in the Sept. 8 Temperence Hill Stakes. Delaunay, owned by Maggi Moss and trained by Tom Amoss, raced six furlongs in 1:10.19 under Shaun Bridgmohan.