LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Proviso did her best Zenyatta impersonation Saturday in the Grade 1, $400,000 First Lady at Keeneland, appearing in danger of being beaten in midstretch, only to unleash a powerful closing kick to secure yet another prestigious victory.
As she had in winning the Diana, Just a Game, and Frank Kilroe Mile earlier in the year -- all Grade 1 races -- Proviso didn't win by much, but impressed with a half-length score over longshot C.S. Silk.
ighth of nine early under regular rider Mike Smith, she stayed far off a moderate but contested pace set by longshot West Hope, who set splits of 23.92 seconds and 47.54 in the one-mile turf race. When the field reached the stretch, and Wasted Tears took command with six furlongs in 11.75, Proviso still had seven horses to pass.
But pass them she did, closing down the center of the course, racing the distance in a sharp 1:34.81. She paid $4.60.
"The last eighth of the mile she was in high gear, and got the job done," said trainer Mott. "She's a beautiful mare."
Smith called her First Lady performance "one of her better races," and said he tried to time her rally until as late as possible, knowing her tendency to relax upon making the lead.
Mott was noncommittal about a start for Proviso in the Breeders' Cup.
Although the First Lady is a Win and You're In prep for the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf race, 1 3/8-mile race on the grass, the Breeders' Cup Mile, against males, is the Breeders' Cup race under consideration for the mare. All four of her Grade 1 victories this year have come at a mile, and in scoring in the Frank Kilroe Mile in March, she proved the ability to defeat male rivals.
Proviso, a 5-year-old daughter of Dansili owned and bred by Juddmonte Farms, improved her record this year to four for five, and the winner's share of the purse elevated her earnings in 2010 to $980.000.
Following runner C.S. Silk across the wire in a blanket finish were Gotta Have Her, Fantasia, Wasted Tears, Dynaslew, Kiss Mine, Cure for Sale, and the pacesetting West Hope.