05/02/2008 12:00AM

Just for Keeps gets up in time


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - After coming within a length of winning her first stakes in each of her last two starts, Just for Keeps finally broke through on Thursday, outfinishing a stubborn Cat on a Cloud to win the $110,400 Mamzelle Stakes by one-half length at Churchill Downs.

Cat on a Cloud, who set solid early fractions, held second by 1 3/4 lengths over Taletobetold. It was a neck back to 2-1 favorite Smitty's Sunshine, who won this race last year. Trisha's Silver, Kindling, Initforthekandy, and Miss Greenley completed the order of finish.

Just for Keeps, a daughter of Broken Vow owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey and trained by Michael Maker, had finished second or third in her last three stakes tries. In the Giant's Causeway at Keeneland just 12 days ago, Just for Keeps was disqualified from second and placed third for interference in the stretch.

Thursday, with Garrett Gomez in the irons for the first time, Just for Keeps stalked Cat on a Cloud, came three wide into the stretch and ran with Cat on a Cloud from the three-sixteenths pole into deep stretch before edging away late.

Just for Keeps covered the five furlongs in 56.09 seconds over firm turf and returned $7.20 as the second choice. It was the first Churchill Downs stakes victory for Maker, a former assistant to trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

"It's nice to have my first stakes winner at my home track and it's a great time to do it," Maker said. "She had some hard luck in her two races at Turfway and in her last race she looked like she was home free at Keeneland until she swerved out.  We'll wait and see what's next.  I'll give her some time off."