Seattle Smooth damaged Proud Spell's bid to nail down the 3-year-old filly championship and may have forced trainer Larry Jones to alter his plans by scoring an emphatic two-length victory in Saturday's Grade 2, $750,000 Fitz Dixon Cotillion at Philadelphia Park.
Proud Spell, sent off as the 1-2 favorite in a field reduced to six 3-year-old fillies by the scratch of Never Retreat, had to settle for second, a neck in front of 60-1 pacesetter Color Me Up, after going wide coming into the stretch and getting bumped slightly by the tiring By the Light while making a belated rally.
A win by Proud Spell would have given her two Grade 1 and three Grade 2 stakes victories this season, and she might well have rested on those laurels. Now, in order to strengthen Proud Spell's Eclipse Award credentials, Jones may need to take her to Santa Anita for the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic, where she would have to face fellow 3-year-old filly Music Note for the third time - along with older females such as the undefeated Zenyatta, Ginger Punch, and Hystericalady.
Seattle Smooth ($8.40), coming off the best race of her career three weeks ago in the $100,000 Go for Wand at Delaware Park, sat in fourth early. Jockey Jose Lezcano, riding her for the first time, put Seattle Smooth into closer contention after the first half-mile went in 48.59 seconds. She outfought Color Me Up for the lead inside the eighth pole and drew off, completing 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:42.58.
Color Me Up, whose only win in 10 previous starts came in a seven-furlong maiden race at Churchill Downs in early July, easily held third, finishing 7 1/2 lengths in front of By the Light, a New York-based filly who had six wins and a second in her first seven career starts.
Philadelphia Park, 9th Race - September 20, 2008