01/21/2017 5:27PM

No Fault of Mine earns elusive first stakes win in Wayward Lass

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John Duca/SV Photography
Heavy favorite No Fault of Mine, under Daniel Centeno, scores by 2 1/2 lengths in the Wayward Lass.

OLDSMAR, Fla. -- It took a bit longer than her connections thought it would, but No Fault of Mine finally got her stakes win.

No Fault of Mine ($3.40), a 5-year-old mare by Blame, had lost her first eight stakes races, including six graded events, before prevailing by 2 1/2 lengths as the favorite in the $50,000 Wayward Lass Stakes on Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs. She was making her first start since finishing eighth in the Grade 2 Falls City Handicap at Churchill Downs in November.

With leading jockey Daniel Centeno aboard for the first time, No Fault of Mine raced in midpack early in the 1 1/16-mile race as Alto Belle led the field of eight older fillies and mares through a quarter-mile in 24.95 seconds and a half-mile in 48.21. Alto Belle then ceded the lead to Royal Jewely and jockey Edwin Gonzalez, who had tracked the pace in second the whole way, with No Fault of Mine steadily advancing three wide around the far turn.

Royal Jewely had a one-length lead at the head of the lane but couldn’t hold off No Fault of Mine, who drew clear in the final yards and stopped the clock in 1:44.63 on a fast track.

“I went a little wide on the last turn, but when she grabbed the bit, she obviously responded,” Centeno said.

No Fault of Mine, a homebred for Lothenbach Stables Inc., was the runner-up in the Grade 2 Golden Rod Stakes as a juvenile in 2014 and lost to Flipcup by just a neck when second in the Grade 3 Arlington Matron last May. She also was the runner-up in the Minaret Stakes here last February and the One Dreamer Stakes at Kentucky Downs last September. She has five wins and six runner-up finishes in 15 career starts for $267,814 in earnings.

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Tony Reinstedler, an assistant to trainer Chris Block, said he wasn’t sure where No Fault of Mine would make her next start, though the $50,000 Minaret Stakes, a six-furlong sprint for older fillies and mares here Feb. 18, is a possibility.

“Class filly,” Reinstedler said. “She finally notched her first stakes win today, which is good for her pedigree and her future as a broodmare, but she’s always been a really hard-trying filly, no matter what surface she runs on, so it’s nice to see her get her day in the sun today.”  

It was a second consecutive solid runner-up effort for Royal Jewely, who finished a neck behind the promising Chad Brown trainee Light In Paris on Jan. 8 in a turf route designed as a prep for next month’s Grade 3 Endeavour Stakes here. Trained by Gerald Bennett, Royal Jewely won the $50,000 Winter Melody Stakes on the main track at Delaware Park last September.

“She got a little tired,” Gonzalez said of her effort Saturday.  

Royal Jewely finished seven lengths clear of Alto Belle, who was followed by Pleasant Mine, Desert Tune, Untrue, Alotta Skirt, and Construe.