06/16/2012 8:07PM

Churchill Downs: Centre Court proves maiden win no fluke by taking Regret


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Centre Court was so well regarded that, even after taking four tries to finally post her maiden victory, she still was the 3-2 favorite Saturday night among a terrific field of 11 3-year-old fillies in the 43rd running of the Regret Stakes on the Churchill Downs turf.

Living up to that billing, Centre Court surged to the lead turning for home in the 1 1/8-mile race and turned back a sustained drive from Colonial Flag, the 7-2 second choice, to win the Grade 3, $114,200 race by a length. Treasured Up was third, another half-length back, with Left a Message another 1 3/4 lengths back in fourth.

The winner returned $5 after finishing in 1:48.25 over a firm course.

“It worked out great,” said winning jockey Javier Castellano. “I had a beautiful set-up. When she got by the other horses, she did start looking around, but she kicked very good today.”

Rusty Arnold trains Centre Court for her breeders, G. Watts and Louise Humphrey. A daughter of Smart Strike out of the graded winning mare, Let, Centre Court clearly has made great progress in recent months.

“That was a very nice win and we’re really happy with her,” said Arnold. “That was a good group. She made a good step up today.”

Longshots Zapper Belle and Singn On Themoon set the pace, with Centre Court chasing closest and Colonial Flag, ridden by Julien Leparoux, right behind her. By the quarter pole, the favorites were swooping past, and although a couple others made decent runs, the race basically came down to those two. Down the stretch, Centre Court drifted out with Colonial Flag on her outside, appearing to make contact, but not enough so that the stewards called an inquiry or Leparoux an objection.