09/07/2013 6:35PM

Kentucky Downs: Mystical Star sets course record in Ladies Marathon

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FRANKLIN, Ky. – Winless in eight races since capturing the Grade 2 New York Stakes last summer, Mystical Star emphatically returned to the winner’s circle by taking Saturday’s $150,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon in course-record time by a neck over Preferential.

The winner, a 5-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper, raced 1 5/16 miles on a firm turf course that played quickly in 2:11.30. Owned by Cheyenne Stables and trained by Christophe Clement, she paid $9.60.

Patience on the part of jockey Brice Blanc might have been the difference between victory and defeat in the Ladies Marathon. Unlike Preferential, who surged from a stalking position to take the lead at the top of the lane, Mystical Star was not asked until a bit later.

“It’s a long stretch, and I didn’t want to do a premature move, even with the ground being so firm,” Blanc said. “I didn’t want to make my move until we really got to the top of the lane.”

Preferential, in easily her best start since being imported from France, finished a clear second, 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Angel Terrace. Left a Message was fourth.