10/20/2013 4:46PM

Keeneland: Preferential finds room late to win Rood and Riddle Dowager

Coady Photography
Preferential and jockey Leandro Goncalves win the Rood and Riddle Dowager by a half-length Sunday.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Racing last month in the Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon, an early move leaving the turn might have cost Preferential a victory, as she weakened late to lose by a neck to Mystical Star.

On Sunday in the $125,000 Rood and Riddle Dowager at Keeneland, she never had the chance to move too soon. Blocked in traffic in fourth for much of the race behind a dawdling pace, she didn’t get clear until midstretch and then surged to victory.

“I had nowhere to go,” winning jockey Leandro Goncalves said. “I had to sit there and wait, and hope for the best, and try to get lucky, and I did today.”

Left a Message rallied from seventh to grab second, a half-length behind Preferential, but never proved a significant danger to the winner. Angel’s Terrace was two lengths farther back in third, a head in front over the slow-starting Beijoca.

The Dowager marked the first victory in five races in the United States for the Bill Mott-trained Preferential, who raced in France for owner Juddmonte Farms prior to this year.

“I think it’s just been a bit of a learning process for her and for us in terms of what she really wants to do,” Mott’s assistant, Kenny McCarthy, said of her improvement.

Preferential, a British-bred 4-year-old daughter of Dansili, raced 1 1/2 miles in 2:33.11 on a course rated “firm” but one that had give in the ground after Saturday rain. She paid $8 as the narrow favorite in the field of 10.

Attendance on a picturesque fall day at Keeneland was 15,635.