11/30/2013 5:48PM

Churchill Downs: Vexed scores record-tying win for Claiborne in Golden Rod

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Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
Vexed wins the Grade 2, $169,500 Golden Rod Stakes. The victory gave Claiborne Farm a record-tying 32nd stakes victory at Churchill Downs.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Stamping herself as a leading prospect for the 2014 Kentucky Oaks, Vexed surged from just off the pace to win a swift running of the Grade 2, $169,500 Golden Rod Stakes at Churchill Downs Saturday.

In victory she also gave her part-owners, Claiborne Farm, a record-tying 32nd stakes victory at Churchill Downs, matching the total of Calumet Farm.

Adele Dilschneider is the other part of the ownership team with Vexed, as she has been with many of the farm’s runners over the past couple decades. Their partnership also bred Vexed.

Though the record-tying stakes victory at Churchill Downs was noteworthy, so, too, was the performance of Vexed. She raced professionally, sitting in third early, a length off the pace, and outkicking her opponents. She won by a length over favored Bird Maker, racing 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in a quick 1:43.83. She paid $9.20.

Making the performance all the more striking was that the race was her first around two turns.

“She’s a little bit antsy,” winning rider Shaun Bridgmohan said of the winner. “But I think mentally she’s maturing, and obviously it’s showing.”

Bird Maker, coming off a fast maiden victory Nov. 3 at Churchill, ran well in defeat, closing from fifth to grab second. She finished a length in front of Stonetastic in third, with Naïve Enough in fourth.

The top four finishers were awarded points in the Road to the Kentucky Oaks point series, with the winner, Vexed, earning the most, 10 points.

Winning trainer Al Stall was pleased with his filly’s performance, and that her win resulted in a milestone victory for her Claiborne Farm.

“I’m the tiniest little cog in the wheel,” he said. “I’m excited to be a part of it. It would be fun to break it next spring.”

Stall said Vexed would be based at Fair Grounds for the winter, and prep for the Kentucky Oaks by racing in a stakes race or two next year. “We’ll give her a little breather and bring her along slowly,” he said.

Vexed is a 2-year-old daughter of Arch out of the mare Cross, making her a half-sister to Sign, winner of the Grade 2 Pocahontas in 2012.