10/15/2010 6:40PM

Mimi's Bling gets up to win Franklin County

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Keeneland/Coady Photography
Mimi's Bling (12), Julien Leparoux up, wins the Franklin County.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Julien Leparoux winning on a 33-1 shot isn't a common occurrence, either in Kentucky, where he tends to dominate, or elsewhere. And yet 3-year-old Mimi's Bling was so overshadowed by more accomplished older mares going into the $100,000 Franklin County Stakes on Friday at Keeneland that even the presence of Leparoux in the saddle could do little to keep the filly's odds from floating skyward.

You know the rest of the story. Leparoux, the 2009 Eclipse Award winner for top jockey in North America, gave Mimi's Bling a textbook ride in an otherwise roughly run 14th edition of the Franklin County to prevail narrowly, punctuating what has been a terrific start to the Keeneland fall meet for the 26-year-old Frenchman.

"She relaxed good for me," said Leparoux, who was posting his fourth stakes win at the six-day-old meet, "and she made a big run at the end."

Canadian Ballet, the race-long leader at 8-1 under Kent Desormeaux, held second, a half-length behind the winner, while heavily favored West Ocean overcame a troubled trip to just get up for third, another 1 1/4 lengths behind in a field of 11 fillies and mares.

Mimi's Bling was exiting a narrow victory in a first-level allowance at Kentucky Downs, while several of her rivals, most notably West Ocean, the 9-10 favorite for jockey John Velazquez and trainer Todd Pletcher, had compiled far more impressive credentials. But after breaking sharply from an outside post, Mimi's Bling ranged into contention, went up to challenge Canadian Ballet leaving the furlong pole, and went on to prevail at a $68.20 mutuel, finishing 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.48 over a firm turf course.

"I really didn't think we could beat these nice older mares," said Eddie Kenneally, who trains Mimi's Bling and co-owns her. "But she'd been training well, and we thought we'd like to get a little black type for her. So we went ahead and took a shot."

On the wire, West Ocean, 10th early, was a nose in front of Selva, who in turn was a nose ahead of Broken Dreams, the 2-1 second choice.

Leparoux, a four-time leading rider at Keeneland, rode two earlier winners on the 10-race and held a clear lead atop the jockey standings at the day's conclusion.

A big ontrack crowd of 19,237, many of them on hand for a college scholarship raffle, turned out on another sun-splashed afternoon.

The winning $2 exacta (12-5) returned $802.80.

Velazquez and Pletcher teamed to win the two previous races on the Friday card, both allowances, with Zermatt ($9.40) in the seventh race and Aikenite ($6.80) in the eighth.