09/15/2012 5:53PM

Kentucky Downs: Maid of Heaven holds on to win Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon


FRANKLIN, Ky. – Maid of Heaven, bred and owned by the Dreamfields Farm of Steve Cauthen, held off Charming She Is to post her first stakes victory Saturday in the inaugural running of the $75,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon at turf-only Kentucky Downs.

Ridden by Leandro Goncalves, Maid of Heaven surged into contention with a quarter-mile to go in the 1 5/16-mile race before having just enough left to last by a head over Charming She Is. Fleur de Lilly was another neck back in third in a field of seven.

Maid of Heaven, a 4-year-old filly by Empire Maker, returned $18.60 after finishing her 15th career start in 2:14.06 over a firm course. Kellyn Gorder trains her for Cauthen, the retired Hall of Fame jockey who lives in northern Kentucky.

“At the quarter pole, I thought she was going to draw away, but she didn’t,” Goncalves said. “She made my job harder a little bit, but we got the job done.”

Besides the Ladies Marathon, two other seven-furlong stakes, both for 2-year-olds, made their debuts Saturday – the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies and the Kentucky Downs Juvenile.

Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies: Oscar Party rallies to win first race

Oscar Party ($5.20), previously a maiden, rallied strongly to overtake Zip Cash Back leaving the furlong pole en route to a three-length score in the $74,667 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies. Making her first start since being purchased privately by James Covello, Oscar Party finished in 1:25.64 over the firm going. The daughter of Dixie Union is trained by Wayne Catalano.

“She just took me around there,” jockey Kent Desormeaux said. “It was just me keeping her between the fences. When I asked her to go faster, that’s what she did. It was about as good as it gets.”

Oscar Party was coming off a third-place finish in a two-turn maiden race on the Saratoga turf.

Zip Cash Back, always on the pace, held second by a head over Moonwalk in the field of eight.

Kentucky Downs Juvenile: Ruler of Love wires

Ruler of Love ($15.60) was never headed after shooting to the lead down the hilly backside, carrying Calvin Borel to a three-length win over favored Central Banker in the $60,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile.

“Very impressive,” Borel said.

Ruler of Love, a Florida-bred by Peace Rules, was coming off a maiden victory on the Aug. 18 Arlington Million program. He finished in 1:24.38.

Central Banker gave chase throughout when narrowly holding second over Midas Dancer, with Zoloto fourth in a field of nine.

Ruler of Love earned $29,760 instead of the nearly $45,000 that would have gone to a horse eligible to the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund. One-third of the undercard stakes purses came from the KTDF.