10/19/2014 5:50PM

White Rose noses out Caroline Thomas in Dowager

Coady Photography
White Rose, under Shaun Bridgmohan, comes back on three weeks' rest to win the Dowager by a nose.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Turf specialist White Rose continued a productive streak for herself and for her ownership group by posting a narrow victory in the $125,000 Dowager Stakes on Sunday at Keeneland.

The filly rallied on the outside down the lane to best Caroline Thomas by a nose in the 12-furlong contest for fillies and mares before an announced crowd of 16,180 on Heroes Day, as Keeneland honored military members and other first responders.

This was the third win in the last four starts for White Rose ($18.60), a daughter of leading sire Tapit who Jake Ballis and multi-time NBA All-Star Rashard Lewis  purchased for $225,000 out of the 2012 Keeneland April 2-year-olds in training sale.

"[Trainer Bill Mott] always told me [she would] be better at 4 and 5 than she was at 2 and 3," Ballis said. "I think she's just coming into her own. Bill does well with any type of horse, and he's taken his time with her. The result is paying off."

Under Shaun Bridgmohan, White Rose, who broke from the outside in the full field of 14, settled back in eighth early behind unhurried early splits. She began to pick off horses between rivals as the pack bunched up leaving the backstretch for the final time, and was rolling six wide straightening away into the lane. Meanwhile, Caroline Thomas and Joe Rocco Jr. - who had broken from post 13 - split horses to make a late rally. White Rose, widest of all in a four-horse blanket finish, was just up to nip Caroline Thomas. It was another half-length back to Appealing Cat, who edged Cat's Claw by a neck for third. 

The final time for the 1 1/2 miles on turf rated firm was 2:05.65.

“I had a good trip from the 14 hole,” Bridgmohan said. “[Assistant trainer Kenny McCarthy] and I had spoken about it; we needed to let her run a little bit early. I ended up having a good trip with her. She was trying hard the whole way.”

White Rose was coming in off a victory in the Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon at 1 5/16 miles on Sept. 24, her first career stakes score. The filly wheeled back in slightly more than  three weeks for her Keeneland victory, a decision Ballis said was not ideal, but was due to the lack of spots for female turf routers.

“There's not a lot, so we had to run her back off three weeks’ rest,” he said.

Ballis and Lewis, longtime friends, are also co-owners of Cigar Street, who, three days after White Rose's stakes victory at Kentucky Downs, won the Homecoming Classic at Churchill Downs. He is now eyeing the Breeders' Cup Classic on Nov. 1.


"All systems are go right now. Hopefully we'll get in the race," Ballis said. "You obviously dream - if you can't dream in this sport, you might as well not be in it."