11/06/2011 7:19PM

Churchill: Mott continues hot hand with Deluxe in Cardinal Handicap

Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
Deluxe gives trainer Bill Mott his third graded stakes win of the weekend by taking the Grade 3 Cardinal Handicap.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Hey, Bill Mott – give somebody else a turn!

Mott, who famously swept the two Breeders’ Cup anchor events at Churchill Downs with Royal Delta in the Ladies’ Classic and Drosselmeyer in the Classic, sent out yet another winner here Sunday when Deluxe ran to a hard-fought score in the Grade 3, $109,900 Cardinal Handicap, the featured event on an 11-race post-BC card.

For Mott, who first made his mark at Churchill Downs in his Hall of Fame career, the triumph in the 36th Cardinal extended his record in the race. He now has won it six times, having captured his first one in a 1985 division with the standout filly Mrs. Revere.

Deluxe, a Juddmonte Farms homebred out of the blue hen mare Hasili, outran Ravi’s Song to the wire in the Cardinal, contested at 1 1/8 miles over a firm turf. Ridden by Julien Leparoux, the winner returned $5 as favorite when prevailing by a half-length. Ravi’s Song, the 5-2 second choice, ended a $2 exacta worth $16.40. The winning time was 1:50.53.

Kiss Mine was another two lengths back in third, followed in order by Distorted Love, Tapitsfly, Mutually Benefit, and A She’s Adorable.

Garrett O’Rourke, Juddmonte farm manager, watched the Cardinal alongside Mott, and they discussed the certain quirks of Deluxe, a 4-year-old Storm Cat filly, as they descended from the Churchill stands to the winner’s circle. Campaigned earlier in France, the filly was winning for the first time in three American starts and was coming off a last-place finish in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl over a soggy Belmont turf.

“This filly’s never going to win by much,” said Mott. “That’s just the way she is.”

O’Rourke said Deluxe, a half-sister to BC winners Banks Hill and Intercontinental, essentially was on trial to continue her racing career by running in the Cardinal.

“Today she had something to prove just to stay in training,” he said. “I don’t know what we’ve got next for her.”

Tapitsfly, the 2009 BC Juvenile Fillies Turf winner and the 5-2 third choice, set the pace, with Mutually Benefit giving closest chase, but neither had a response once they all straightened for home. Ravi’s Song, with Corey Lanerie aboard, swung widest of all and appeared to have the most momentum at the eighth pole, but Deluxe, rallying between rivals, continued resolutely to prevail.

Mott is the all-time winningest trainer in Churchill history with more than 650 victories.