06/18/2016 8:12PM

Paid Up Subscriber outperforms favorites in Fleur de Lis


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Paid Up Subscriber became a player in the filly-and-mare division and earned an expenses-paid trip to the Breeders’ Cup with an emphatic victory Saturday night in the 41st running of the Grade 2, $200,000 Fleur de Lis Handicap at Churchill Downs.

Ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr., Paid Up Subscriber rallied from just off the pace to win the 1 1/8-mile race by three lengths over Brooklynsway, returning $14.60 after finishing in 1:48.44 over a fast track.

“She’d been training unbelievably the last month or so,” said Al Stall Jr., who trains the 4-year-old Paid Up Subscriber for Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence. “She’s always been held in the highest regard.”

Paid Up Subscriber, a Kentucky-bred filly by Candy Ride, earned a free berth into the Nov. 4 BC Distaff at Santa Anita.

“You don’t really think about that going in,” said Stall. “You just want to see where you fit. It’s exciting.”

The two Fleur de Lis favorites turned in poor performances: Untapable, the 3-5 favorite and 120-pound highweight in a field of six fillies and mares, was very rank in the opening stages under Florent Geroux and finished fourth, while Ahh Chocolate, the 5-2 second choice, pressed the pace from the start before fading to fifth.

“She was a bit keen,” Geroux said of Untapable, the 2014 Kentucky Oaks winner who now has lost seven times in a row. “I don’t know what I could’ve done about it.”

As the second of five straight graded stakes on a Downs After Dark program, the Fleur de Lis unfolded differently than it figured on paper, with Big Book leading Ahh Chocolate while Untapable fought Geroux a few lengths behind.

Meanwhile, Paid Up Subscriber and Santana were always sitting chilly while saving ground just a couple lengths off the lead, and after the field bunched up leaving the quarter-pole, they shot through an opening to emerge the obvious winner.

Paid Up Subscriber, who carried 114 pounds, was making her eighth career start and was coming off an allowance victory on the May 6 Kentucky Oaks card. The chestnut filly was unplaced in her two prior stakes attempts, both last year.

“She had a little of this and a little of that, and we gave her the time she needed and brought her back over the winter in New Orleans,” said Stall, who next month will take his best horses to Saratoga. “We really do think a lot of her.”

The $2 exacta (3-6) paid $98.60, the $1 trifecta (3-6-2) returned $256.70, and the 10-cent superfecta (3-6-2-1) was worth $53.50.