04/12/2008 12:00AM

Lady Digby wins head bob with Mary Louhana


The final margin was a lot closer than when they met a month earlier in Florida, but Lady Digby still got the better of Mary Louhana in the $80,000 Dahlia Stakes at Laurel Park.

Lady Digby ($3.80) had finished second behind former juvenile filly champion Dreaming of Anna in the Grade 3 Hillsborough at Tampa Bay Downs on March 15, 1 1/4 lengths ahead of third-place finisher Mary Louhana.

This time, racing a mile in Maryland's first turf stakes of the season, Lady Digby had to overcome Mary Louhana's dawdling pace of 50.47 seconds for a half-mile and 1:15.47 for six furlongs, then outfought her rival in a stretch duel to prevail by a head.

"It was a little slower than I'd like to see," winning jockey Jeremy Rose said of the early fractions. "I had to make an early move to get her out and get her motivated. I felt confident from there that we were going to win."

It was the third win in 10 starts for Lady Digby, a 4-year-old daughter of Grand Slam trained by Graham Motion and owned by Earle Mack. She completed the distance over a course rated firm in 1:38.92.

Mary Louhana, the second choice at 3-1, was seven lengths clear of third-place finisher Montecito in the field of eight older fillies and mares.