04/15/2012 4:56PM

Keeneland: Gypsy Robin fires fresh in Beaumont

Keeneland/Coady Photography
Gypsy Robin, ridden by Jeffrey Sanchez, scores a front-running win in the Beaumont for 3-year-old fillies.

LEXINGTON, Ky.  -- Racing for the first time after a seven-month layoff, Gypsy Robin went to the lead out of the gate and was never threatened when winning the Grade 2, $150,000 Beaumont Stakes over Keeneland’s main track on Sunday. Gypsy Robin was the second choice in the field of six.

Trained by Wesley Ward and ridden by Jeffrey Sanchez, Gypsy Robin set moderate fractions throughout the about-seven-furlong race and won by three lengths over Sacristy, the even-money favorite. Livi Makenzie, the fourth choice, was another 2 3/4 lengths back in third. The final time was a pedestrian 1:28.46, more than four seconds off the track record.

In her previous start, Gypsy Robin ($6.80) won the Sorority Stakes at Monmouth Park on Sept. 11, but she had been laid up since the win. The Beaumont, which was restricted to 3-year-old fillies, was her first graded stakes win, and it came after a string of workouts in Florida, New York, and Kentucky.

The Beaumont – which was run at seven furlongs and 184 feet – did not draw an especially strong field, and Gypsy Robin might not have been entered in the race if a second-level allowance for 3-year-old fillies had filled for the previous day’s card at Keeneland, according to Gatewood Bell, part of the partnership that owns the filly. Ward had also been considering the Cicada Stakes in New York four weeks ago or running in an allowance race in Canada, Bell said, but Ward preferred to keep the filly at Keeneland.

“She just thrives here,” Bell said. “She loves the racetrack, and she’s just been doing awesome here.”

The partnership that owns Gypsy Bell also includes Pro Bowl receiver Wesley Welker  of the New England Patriots. Bell said he had been introduced to Welker five years ago, and that Welker was introduced to horses through Tom Brady, the Patriots quarterback, who is a frequent visitor to the Kentucky Derby.

After winning her first start in April, 2011, in a 4 1/2-furlong race at Keeneland by 7 1/2 lengths, Gypsy Robin was shipped to Royal Ascot, where she finished a good seventh, beaten only 3 1/2 lengths, in the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes. She returned to the States after the Royal Ascot attempt, and finished fourth, beaten eight lengths, in the Grade 3 Schuylerville Stakes at Saratoga before winning the Sorority.

In the Beaumont, Gypsy Robin was pushed to the lead right out of the gate by Sanchez and managed to post a 24.15-second opening quarter without being seriously threatened by Livi Makenzie. She loped through the first half in 49.10, and ran the first six furlongs in 1:13.06. At that point, she had extended her lead to 2 1/2 lengths, leaving Sacristy and Livi Makenzie to fight it out for the second.

“Justin just milked her and milked her and milked her, and it pretty much all fell into place,” said Bell.

“I tried to run the same way as at Monmouth Park [when she won the Sorority],” said Sanchez. “I put her into the lead and tried to put everyone else to sleep.”

* Havre de Grace, the 2011 Horse of the Year, was paraded in Keeneland’s paddock before the seventh race, drawing a decent-sized crowd of onlookers. In the paddock, Jane Beshear, the wife of Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, issued a proclamation calling April 15 “Havre de Grace Day” in Kentucky as the mare circled the ring to the clicks of camera lenses.