LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- When they met in an allowance race four days before the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, Diva Express held off I'm a Looker by a diminishing head.
This time, however, not even the photo-finish camera could split the 4-year-old fillies when a dead-heat for win was declared Saturday in the 13th running of the Grade 3, $100,000 Winning Colors.
Diva Express put away the odds-on favorite, Enchanting Lady, in the six-furlong race, but in the final yards, it was I'm a Looker and jockey Robby Albarado who appeared to have a slight edge after launching a bold rally.
"Robby got ahead of me, but then my filly put her head down," said Julien Leparoux, who rode Diva Express for owner John Oxley and trainer Mark Casse.
Diva Express paid $6 to win and I'm a Looker paid $9.40 after finishing in 1:09.49 over a fast track. Spelling Again closed belatedly to be another three-quarters of a length back in third in a field of seven fillies and mares, while Enchanting Lady, the 4-5 choice, faded to fifth after setting the early pace.
The victory was the first in a graded stakes for Pat Dupuy, who trains I'm a Looker for the Glenmare Farm LLC of Chester Miller.
The dead-heat was the first in a Churchill stakes since Karelian and Demarcation in the 2008 River City.
Al's Gal dominates Keertana
Earlier Saturday, Al's Gal ($3.40) and jockey Florent Geroux drew off to a 5-1/2-length victory in the $58,550 Keertana for the mare's first stakes triumph in 22 starts. Sequiota was second and Salama was third in a field of eight fillies and mares.
Al's Gal, a 5-year-old Pennsylvania-bred by English Channel, is owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey and trained by Mike Maker. She finished the 1 1/2-mile distance in 2:28.13 over firm turf.
The Keertana came some 30 minutes after Geroux was thrown from his mount, Top Tiara, in midstretch of a maiden race. Neither Geroux nor the 3-year-old filly was injured.