07/31/2017 5:53PM

Morticia holds off Epping Forest in Coronation Cup

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Barbara D. Livingston
Morticia paid $6.60 in winning the Coronation Cup at Saratoga on Monday.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Morticia continued her winning ways Monday at Saratoga, parlaying a picture-perfect trip under regular rider Jose Lezcano into a three-quarter-length decision over the late-running Epping Forest in the $100,000 Coronation Cup for 3-year-old fillies on the turf.

Morticia stalked the pace-setting No More Babies through a 21.42 opening quarter, stuck her head in front leaving the turn, finally edged clear of the early leader near midstretch, then withstood a belated surge by Epping Forest. The latter raced between horses early while near the rear of the field, angled out some for the drive and finished with good energy to best Hidden Mystery by a neck for second.

The win was the fifth in the last six starts for Morticia, a daughter of Twirling Candy trained by George (Rusty) Arnold for her breeder G. Watts Humphrey Jr. Morticia, who has now won races at four different racetracks, suffered her only loss during that skein when second behind La Coronel going a mile in the Grade 3 Appalachian this spring at Keeneland.

Morticia completed 5 1/2 furlongs over a firm course in 1:01.27 and paid $6.60

“She’s just quick, seems to have a lot of class and likes what she’s doing,” Arnold said. “I was really worried about running her back this quick, but she just did so well when I got her up here I decided to take a chance.”

Arnold said Morticia turned in a big effort even in her lone setback this year.

“Even though people think she doesn’t really want to go long, and I’m not anxious to do it again, she beat New Money Honey and Proctor’s Ledge that day, and those are nice fillies in there.”

Arnold said he would give Morticia a break with her next start possibly to come on Sept. 8, opening day at Belmont Park, in the six-furlong Christiecat.