Updated on 09/15/2011 1:26PM

Watch makes grade with Cardinal win


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Watch, a classy and consistent filly but until Saturday never a graded stakes winner, got a perfect trip under Craig Perret to win the 28th running of the Cardinal Handicap at Churchill Downs.

Watch, trained by Frank Brothers, finished a length ahead of 25-1 shot Sitka in the $169,350, Grade 3 Cardinal. Gino's Spirits, who had traffic trouble in the stretch, was another nose back in third.

Babae, the 11-10 favorite in a field of nine fillies and mares, had no apparent excuse, running sixth.

In 16 previous starts, Watch had finished first or second 12 times, earning over $432,000. "I'm thrilled for her," said Dell Hancock, whose family, under the Claiborne Farm banner, bred and owns Watch. "She deserved to win a graded race, and now she's done it."

On a terrific weather day, Ioya Two, chased by Alybgood and Babae, led most of the 1 1/8 miles of the Cardinal before weakening inside the eighth pole, where Watch took over. Sitka came from far back to barely edge Gino's Spirits for the place.

Watch paid $12 after finishing in 1:49.12 over a firm course. Dell Hancock said her brother, Claiborne president Seth Hancock, and Brothers "have gone back and forth" about whether to run Watch as a 5-year-old or retire her to be bred.

* The CDSN Turf Pick Three of 8-4-3, combining Mountain Forum ($20.40) at Calder, Foster's Landing ($8.80) at Churchill, and Sehra ($58.80) at Hollywood, returned $1,818.50 for a $1 wager.

* La Recherche ($7.20) won a third-level allowance for trainer Tom Amoss after getting a good stalking trip in the sixth race, a $52,000 turf route.

* Art Fair ($7) posted one of the most spectacular wins of the meet, overcoming a terrible start to win the first race under Mark Guidry.

for the Cardinal Handicap chart.*

* Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.