10/05/2013 4:05PM

Keeneland: Better Lucky by a head in First Lady Stakes

Coady Photography
Better Lucky, with Julien Leparoux aboard, wins the First Lady Stakes by a head over Dayatthespa.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – They’ll be talking about this one for a while, and not just because of the stirring stretch duel Saturday between Better Lucky and Dayatthespa in the 16th running of the $400,000 First Lady on the Keeneland turf.

The Grade 1 race was run under a deluge of rain and fog, limiting the visibility of a key race in the filly-and-mare turf division.

“I didn’t see much either!” joked Julien Leparoux, who was astride the victorious Better Lucky.

Better Lucky, trained by Tom Albertrani for Godolphin Racing, prevailed by a head over Dayatthespa after those two had bounded past the early leaders, Daisy Devine and Winding Way, after straightening for home in the one-mile race. John Velazquez was aboard Dayatthespa, the 5-2 favorite in a field of eight.

“It wasn’t very easy to see down the backside,” Leparoux said. “My filly fought back when Johnny came back on us on the inside. She’s a nice filly, for sure.”

Better Lucky, a 4-year-old homebred by Ghostzapper, returned $11.60 after finishing in 1:39.78 over a turf course rated “firm” but one that surely had absorbed quite a bit of moisture in the moments beforehand. It was the second Grade 1 win in her 13-race career, following the Matriarch last November at 35-1.

Daisy Devine held third, another four lengths behind the top pair and 7 1/4 lengths before Miz Ida in fourth. Say, the 5-2 second choice when invading for Coolmore and Aidan O’Brien, never was a factor when sixth.

“Today, she was better lucky, and the last couple times, she’d been pretty unlucky,” said Godolphin representative Jimmy Bell. “We’ve been looking at this race for quite some time now, and we’re very, very happy to win it in a very, very strong group of fillies.”

The $2 exacta (3-6) paid $50.60, the $1 trifecta (3-6-4) returned $127.60, and the 10-cent superfecta (3-6-4-7) was worth $68.51.

The First Lady is not a Win and You’re In race for the Breeders’ Cup.