Trainer Chad Brown deemed Lady Eli’s run in the $500,000 Diana Stakes (G1T) “one of her greatest races to date.” The five-year-old daughter of Divine Park began the race drifting significantly under jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. as she chased after pacesetter Quidura. Following a stewards’ inquiry, no change in the finish order was called for, giving Lady Eli her fifth-career grade one win.
“Today was one of her greatest races to date. Maybe her best,” said Brown. “Giving eight pounds to the horse she ran down late in the stretch after breaking through the gate, going a little wide—she just overcame everything. Today she proved she’s one of the all-time greats. It was her determination. Proud she didn’t hang there in the end. She’s always drove past another horse, as long as she can see them.”
Quidura set the early pace with fractions of :23.59, :47.51, and 1:11.46. Lady Eli would take the lead and crossed the mile-mark in first with a fraction of 1:34.54, and would win in an official time of 1:46.17.
“Fractions were solid enough, but then again, I know this horse on the lead is a real quality horse,” said Brown, referring to Quidura. “What I liked at that point was that (Lady Eli) was alone back there. I felt confident that Irad could at least give her a clear run in the stretch and that’s all I asked in the paddock. If you just get her clear, I’m confident she’ll get there, and she did.”
The win saw the 4-5 favorite Lady Eli return $3.90, $2.70, and $2.10. Runner-up Quidura paid $5.10 and $3.10. Antonoe paid $2.60 to show. Lady Eli has now win nine times out 12 races, earning $2.7 million.