Updated on 09/17/2011 11:48PM

Sundrop goes out in style

Churchill Downs
Sundrop wins the $175,050 Cardinal Handicap at Churchill Downs on Saturday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Put a big red line through that last race for Sundrop - and while you're at it, take her off your Stable Mail.

After finishing last of 14 in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf three weeks earlier, Sundrop, owned by the Godolphin Racing powerhouse, completely reversed that confounding effort on Saturday to win the $175,050 at Churchill Downs.

Godolphin representatives said afterward that the Cardinal was the last career start for Sundrop, who was to be vanned Sunday to Jonabell Farm in Lexington.

Sundrop, given a terrific ride by Mark Guidry, returned $17.20 after swooping past several front-runners to take command with a quarter-mile to go in the 32nd running of the Grade 3 Cardinal. Delta Princess rallied to finish second, a length behind the winner and a neck before Finery in a field of 12 fillies and mares. The winner finished 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.10 over a firm turf.

Sundrop, a 4-year-old Sunday Silence filly bred in Japan, had finished out of the money in her three starts since Godolphin and trainer Saeed bin Suroor sent her this summer to the United States. She finished fifth in the Beverly D. and Flower Bowl, both Grade 1 races, before her Breeders' Cup debacle.

The victory was the fourth in 12 career starts for Sundrop, whose record in Europe included two runner-up finishes in Group 1 races and a Group 3 victory.

Humoristic led early, followed by Lenatareese, while Sundrop got a perfect stalking trip from several lengths behind them. Leaving the half-mile, Sundrop began gaining ground without urging, and she clearly had all the momentum once the field straightened away.

"She put me where I wanted to be," said Guidry. "Inside the sixteenth pole, she was just running freely."

Ontrack attendance, spurred mostly by a track-record pick six carryover of almost $1.7 million, was 10,173.

Earlier Saturday, For Always ($9) cruised down the middle of the turf course to post a 2 1/4-length victory in the $71,800 Caressing Stakes for 2-year-old fillies. For Always, a War Chant filly trained by David Carroll and ridden by Corey Lanerie, finished 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.22.