10/22/2006 12:00AM

Louve Royale ekes out Dowager win


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Getting the kind of well-timed ride that is quicky becoming the hallmark of 24-year-old jockey Julien Leparoux, favored Louve Royale was along for a narrow victory Sunday in the $150,000 Dowager Stakes at Keeneland.

After trailing all but one of her nine rivals for much of the 1 1/2-mile trip, Louve Royale circled the field on the final turn before finding the front inside the furlong pole and edging away to a half-length triumph over Bottiglia, a 79-1 shot. Bond Deal, the 4-1 third choice, finished third, while Burren Rose, the 5-2 second choice, faded badly to finish ninth.

Leparoux was aboard Louve Royale for owner Joe Allen and trainer Patrick Biancone. The 5-year-old mare returned $4.60 after finishing in 2:32.59 over a firm turf course.

Louve Royale, an Irish-bred by Peintre Celebre, now has won 4 of 20 starts. The richest victory of her career was worth $93,000 and lifts her career bankroll to $316,094.

Leparoux, who is in a tight battle with Rafael Bejarano for leading rider at the Keeneland fall meet, has led all North American jockeys in wins for this entire year.