10/05/2013 3:46PM

Keeneland: Judy the Beauty scores in Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes

Coady Photography
Judy the Beauty, ridden by John Velazquez, wins the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes by a length Saturday.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Judy the Beauty, third behind champion Groupie Doll in the Presque Isle Masters on Sept. 9, got the better of that rival and four others in registering an upset in the Grade 2, $200,000 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes on Saturday at Keeneland.

With John Velazquez aboard for the first time, Judy the Beauty rated in fifth early behind a moderate pace set by Gypsy Robin, the eventual runner-up, as that one covered the first quarter-mile in 22.67 seconds in the six-furlong dash on Polytrack.

Content to keep Judy the Beauty off the pace early, Velazquez made his move leaving the far turn, following Groupie Doll, as that one made a mild challenge to Gypsy Robin. Once in the stretch, Groupie Doll flattened out, leaving Judy the Beauty to wear down Gypsy Robin, which she ultimately did by a length.

Groupie Doll finished another three-quarters of a length back in third.

Velazquez said he wanted to get the jump with his mount before Groupie Doll got her confidence up by making the lead, passing her shortly after a half-mile timed in 45.94 seconds. “It kind of took her heart away, I would think,” he said of going past Groupie Doll.

Even then, the race was far from decided, with Gypsy Robin bravely digging in and only succumbing to Judy the Beauty’s charge in the final furlong. “I was very proud of the way she did it,” Velazquez said.

Judy the Beauty, a 4-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper, raced six furlongs in 1:09.23 and paid $8.40 as the second betting choice behind the favored Groupie Doll.

Owner-trainer Wesley Ward said he felt having Judy the Beauty based at Keeneland gave her an advantage. “She trains here every day and is just outstanding,” he said.

In winning the Thoroughbred Club of America, a Win and You’re In race for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita, Judy the Beauty earned an expenses-paid berth to that race.

Ward left no doubt about whether she’d compete. “We’re there,” he said.

Despite her loss as the favorite, seemingly without excuse, Groupie Doll’s connections expressed a desire to proceed to the Breeders’ Cup, and Gypsy Robin would seem a likely candidate to run there, too, with her regular base being in Southern California.