Updated on 09/18/2011 12:06AM

Ever Elusive prevails by neck

Email
Reed Palmer / Churchill Downs
Ever Elusive (center) under Rafael Bejarano, edges 50-1 shot Malibu Mint (inside) and Ebony Breeze (third on the outside) to win the $100,000-added Winning Colors at Churchill Downs on Saturday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Rafael Bejarano was able to keep Ever Elusive off a melting pace, and the filly responded with the first stakes victory of her career Saturday in the third running of the $110,200 Winning Colors Stakes at Churchill Downs.

Ever Elusive, owned by the Padua Stables of Satish Sanan, returned $5.80 as a slight favorite in a field of eight fillies and mares. The win was the fifth from 10 starts for Ever Elusive, a 4-year-old Forestry filly who had finished third in the Grade 2 Madison at Keeneland in her previous start.

The six-furlong Winning Colors set up for a closer when Reunited, Hot Storm, and Flying Falcon ganged up for an opening quarter in 21.17 seconds. Turning for home, the50-1 shot Malibu Mint inherited the lead, but then Ever Elusive angled out for the drive and gradually wore her down to prevail by a neck in 1:09.14 over a fast track.

Malibu Mint held second by a nose over Ebony Breeze, who was followed by Atlas Valley, Reunited, Hot Storm, Ten Carat Ruby, and Flying Falcon.

Ever Elusive is part of the Churchill string trained by Todd Pletcher and overseen locally by Mike McCarthy.

"She'd trained super the last few weeks," said McCarthy. "She sure got a super ride. You don't have to give Rafael many instructions because he ends up working things out anyway."

Earlier on the card, Rich in Spirit ($3.60) capped a string of four straight winning favorites in the seventh race, a $56,900 turf allowance for fillies and mares. Two races later, Ascertain ($12) got a terrific ride from Brian Hernandez Jr. in winning a $49,000 allowance in a field of 11 turf runners.

Longshots dominated the early portion of the 11-race program. Dr. Doright ($69), a first-time starter trained by Mike Tammaro, easily won the first race, after which O Sequoyah ($62.60) prevailed as the longest shot in the second. Then, Crystal Archer ($30), ridden by apprentice Josue' Arce, capped a $2 pick three worth $16,146.20 with a 4 1/4-length triumph in the third.