10/09/2009 11:00PM

Informed Decision does her thing in TCA

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Patrick Lang/Lang Photography
The gray Informed Decision flew down the stretch to catch Carlsbad and win the TCA.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Confirming her status as a major player in the Breeders' Cup, Informed Decision launched a furious run down the middle of the track Saturday under Julien Leparoux to win the

Grade 2, $250,000 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland.

Now a winner in 10 of 13 career starts, Informed Decision will head to Santa Anita after earning an automatic berth in the Nov. 6 Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, for which the TCA is a Win and You're In event.

Informed Decision, a gray 4-year-old Kentucky-bred by Monarchos, returned $3.40 after completing six furlongs in 1:09.03 over Polytrack. Carlsbad, who had wrested command after turning for home, was second, three-quarters of a length behind the winner and another three lengths before Porte Bonheur, who ran third in a field of eight.

Informed Decision has never lost in six races over synthetic surfaces. The $1 million BC Filly-Mare Sprint will be run at seven furlongs over the Pro-Ride synthetic at Santa Anita.

Jonathan Sheppard trains Informed Decision for the Augustin Stable of George Strawbridge Jr.

"She never ceases to amaze me," said Strawbridge. "I thought she was beat at the quarter pole."

"She's just got this kick on the Poly that's amazing," said Leparoux. Referring to how she lags behind before surging late, he added: "She always does kind of the same thing."

Carlsbad, a California invader ridden by Tyler Baze, appeared to be running a winning race as the 2-1 second choice when she easily glided away from Bold Union, then Porte Bonheur, but she could not contain the winner.

The TCA was the second of five graded stakes on the busiest afternoon of the three-day FallStars Weekend, which opened the 17-day Keeneland meet. Three Grade 1 races were to be run later on the card: the First Lady, Breeders' Futurity, and Shadwell Mile.

In the first of the Saturday stakes, Silver Timber ($5.80) got a perfect stalking trip under Leparoux before wearing down Mr. Nightlinger to post a 1 1/4-length victory in the at 5 1/2 furlongs on a soft turf. Goldzar was third and Fort Prado was fourth in the field of eight.

Silver Timber, a 6-year-old New York-bred gelding, was claimed for $25,000 in April by owner Michael Dubb and trainer Chad Brown. He now has won two Grade 3 stakes in his four subsequent starts, having also taken the Jaipur at Belmont in July. His winning time Saturday was 1:04.67.

"He sat right behind them and finished very strong," said Leparoux. "I don't think he liked the turf very much. He was kind of sliding a bit around the turn but was able to overcome it and win the race."

The top two finishers are prime candidates for the Nov. 7 BC Turf Sprint.