Joel Rosario had tried to beat Lady Shipman several times. The most recent occurrence came three weeks ago in the License Fee Stakes at Belmont Park, where his mount, Shrinking Violet, stuck within half a length of the Eclipse Award finalist -- until the quarter pole, anyway.
"She sat right off of me, and turning for home, she said, 'Adios!' " Rosario laughed.
On Saturday, Rosario got a different view, getting a leg up on Lady Shipman for the first time as she overcame the outside post to win the $100,000 The Very One Stakes for turf sprinters at Pimlico.
Lady Shipman ($2.80), who was winning for the third time in four starts since being transferred to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, drew the outside post in the field of 12 and, as a result, was third and 2-1/2 lengths back after a quarter-mile. She made up ground around the far turn, but longshot pacesetter Everything Lovely -- who had ticked off splits of 22.33 and 45.48 seconds -- ambitiously kicked away in upper stretch.
Lady Shipman reeled in that filly to take command, then held sway over the closing Joya Real under a vigorous hand ride, despite drifting a bit in the final stages, to win by 2-1/2 lengths. The final time for the 5-1/2 furlongs on turf rated "good" was 57.85.
"She kind of broke a step slow because we were on the outside," Rosario said. "But she covers a lot of ground very quick, and then she keeps it going. When I asked her, she gave it to me. [To win the way she did] after breaking the way she did, it was impressive to me."
Second choice Exaggerated finished third, a head behind Joya Real.
Lady Shipman, a daughter of Midshipman, now sports a career mark of 16-11-2-2 and pushed her earnings past $700,000 with the win. Her only unplaced effort came when she finished seventh in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint less than two months ago in Dubai. She has won nine stakes at six different tracks in four states.