Lady of Fifty scored the first spot in the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic on Aug. 3 when she won the Clement L. Hirsh Stakes, a Win and You're In event (Photos courtesy Benoit & Associates).
Throughout her career, Lady of Fifty has always made her wins count and the Clement L. Hirsh Stakes was no exception.
The 4-year-old After Market filly punched her ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic on Saturday when she beat a strong field in the Grade 1 race. Her Hirsch win makes her the first horse to earn a spot in the Ladies’ Classic starting gate with four more “Win and You’re In” Ladies’ Classic races left to run.
Lady of Fifty was a dazzling winner in her debut, winning a maiden race by four lengths. The victory would be the last win she scored out of stakes company.
Lady of Fifty has an impressive record under her belt, finishing in the money in 13 of her 16 career starts. She has won six stakes races, including two graded stakes, all on the West Coast. Her first graded stakes win came in her second graded stakes start, and first against females (the filly finished sixth in the 2012 El Camino Real Derby against 3-year-old males).
She has proven that she is capable of running well on multiple surfaces with strong performances on dirt and all-weather surfaces, although she didn’t seem to take to the grass, finishing ninth in her lone turf race. Lady of Fifty won her maiden on dirt by four lengths and won the Grade 2 Bayakoa last year by 3 ¼ lengths on the all-weather surface at Hollywood Park.
One thing that may be a worry when it comes to the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic for Lady of Fifty is that she has never won at the race’s 1 1/8-mile distance. She has proven that she is competitive against California females when asked to go that far, finishing third in the Vanity Handicap against Grade 1 winner Byrama and Grade 1- placed More Chocolate, which is reassuring but it still leaves questions unanswered.
Lady of Fifty has won at 1 1/16 miles but her average winning distance is 7.64 furlongs, suggesting she may be better at shorter races. Don’t let her graded stakes record at route distances fool you, she has never tried a graded stakes at a shorter distance but has won four races at a mile or less.
To be fair to her, however, it must be noted that she has only tried 1 1/8 miles twice. In the Vanity, she was third against Byrama and her other start at the distance was against Triple Crown hopefuls in the El Camino Real Derby last year.
LADY OF FIFTY SCORES HER FIRST GRADED STAKES WIN IN THE BAYAKOA STAKES
Lady of Fifty has changed her running style a bit as she has gotten older, running more mid- and back of the pack than she did at the beginning of her career. But she was even farther back than normal in the Hirsh, which made trainer and co-owner Jerry Hollendorfer a little nervous. However, when she came running in the stretch, his nerves all but disappeared.
“I felt a little bit funny about Lady of Fifty being back so far [early on],” the trainer said. “When she came into the lane and was getting equal with them, I thought she’d have a chance of running them down and she did. It’s one of the best races she’s run. It’s a ‘Win and You’re In’, so I guess we’re in.”
Lady of Fifty’s female family has some black-type but her sire’s family is much more interesting.
Her sire, After Market, was a multiple California Grade 1 winner on the turf at longer distances and won from 1 1/16 miles to 1 3/8 miles. After Market’s dam, Tranquility Lake, is a blue hen (extremely successful) broodmare with all three of her winners prevailing in graded stakes company.
Tranquility Lake won the Clement L. Hirsh among other graded stakes races during her career. A multiple Grade 1 winner, she is a half-sister to graded stakes winner Benchmark and comes from the family of 1983 Belmont Stakes winner Caveat. After Market’s sire, Storm Cat, needs no introduction, as he is one of the stallions that has shaped the breed in recent years. Champions Giant’s Causeway and Storm Flag Flying are just two of his extremely successful offspring.
LADY OF FIFTY RETURNS AFTER THE CLEMENT L. HIRSCH
Lady of Fifty is the second stakes winner for her dam, K. D.’s Shady Lady. Graded stakes placed during her career, K. D.’s Shady Lady was picky when it came to distance, only winning at 1 1/16 miles even though she had plenty of opportunities to add wins at other distances to her record. She definitely has route strength on her sire’s side, being by Maria’s Mon, who sired Kentucky Derby winners Monarchos and Super Saver. K. D.’s Shady Lady comes from a family of useful stakes winners with a few going on to win restricted stakes races, although Lady of Fifty is the first graded stakes winner in four generations.
K. D.’s Shady Lady has given birth to six foals with five of racing age and all have made at least one start. Lady of Fifty was her third foal and thus far is hands down her most successful, but four K.D.’s Shady Lady’s foals have gone on to win at least once with three of them being multiple winners.
Lady of Fifty is the first confirmed entry to the Ladies’ Classic but if the Distaff division stays as strong as it has looked up to this point when the Ladies’ Classic rolls around, it will be an interesting race to watch.