Updated on 09/17/2011 12:09PM

Turfway: 'Lioness' grabs Gowell

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Patrick Lang
Leading Lioness wins the $50,000 Gowell Stakes by 1 1/2 lengths at Turfway Park on Saturday.

FLORENCE, Ky. - Capitalizing on a fast pace, longshot Leading Lioness rallied past favored Ready and Tough to win the $50,000 Gowell Stakes by 1 1/2 lengths.

Under a well-timed ride by Mark Johnston, who shifted his tack from Maryland to Kentucky in November, Leading Lioness closed rapidly from seventh to catch 7-10 favorite Ready and Tough in the final 70 yards. Papa Sids Girl finished third, a length behind the runner-up. Down by the Sea and Roller Girl were scratched.

Leading Lioness, a 2-year-old daughter of Lion Cavern owned by Russell Hale and Michael Hamilton and trained by Bob Pincins, won for the third time in six starts. In scoring her first stakes victory, she raced six furlongs over a muddy track in 1:11.17 and paid $52.60.

Although a comfortable winner late, Leading Lioness seemed beaten at the top of the stretch. Ready and Tough had pulled away from the pack after dueling with Keep This Cat through fractions of 21.78 seconds and 45.10. However, Ready and Tough tired noticeably in the final furlong, and Leading Lioness swooped to victory.

* Jockey Rafael Bejarano, in the midst of a record-breaking holiday meet, will take a vacation to his native Peru after fulfilling his mounts Sunday. He will return to riding at Turfway on Jan. 2, agent Steve Elzey said.