03/13/2011 11:43AM

Turfway: Spring Party holds on by a head in Wintergreen

Patrick Lang/Lang Photography
Ben Creed drives Spring Party on the outside to win the Wintergreen Stakes.

Spring Party barely held off the stretch run of favored La Gran Bailadora on Saturday night to give her connections their second straight victory in the $50,000 Wintergreen Stakes at Turfway Park.

With Ben Creed aboard for owner Jerry Jamgotchian and trainer Eric Reed, Spring Party prevailed by a head, finishing the one-mile distance in 1:39.99 over Polytrack. The same team won the 2010 Wintergreen with Rinterval.

Spring Party, claimed for $25,000 last fall, returned $9 as second choice in a field of nine fillies and mares. La Gran Bailadora, the 2-1 choice, was denied a fourth straight victory when finishing another 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Hot Hot Mama.

Spring Party rallied outside a group of leaders to take command leaving the furlong grounds, then passed under the wire just in time.

“That’s about where I like to sit,” said Creed, the leading rider at the Turfway winter-spring meet. “So I just let her settle in right where she was, and I was finally able to set my hands down and let her get into her own groove. When we turned for home she hesitated to switch leads, but as soon as she did she was gone. I knew that horse [La Gran Bailadora] was going to be closing hard, so I started asking [Spring Party] to run at the three-eighths pole, trying to get the jump on her.”

Spring Party, a 5-year-old Kentucky-bred by Smart Strike, now has won 5 of 15 career starts for earnings of $158,397. She was exiting a Grade 3 turf stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, where she had spent most of the winter.