Good way to start the day - Irv Naylor, Cyril Murphy and Ross Geraghty lit the match early at Far Hills, winning the Peapack Filly and Mare Stakes to start the card with British import One Lucky Lady. A winner of four hurdle races and one chase in England, the daughter of Lucky Story made her American debut at Far Hills. A winner at longer distances in England, One Lucky Lady used speed and stamina to establish and keep a spot in second or third, behind an usually tepid pace set by Bau Bai Gold. Leaving the backside the final time, One Lucky Lady slipped through on the inside to gain a half-length advantage on Bau Bai Gold coming up the hill. The pacesetter clawed back to lead briefly when landing over the last but One Lucky Lady fought back to earn a half length win. Maggie Neary, making her first jump start since 2012, closed to be third, a head in front of Foxfield maiden winner Ivy Mills.
One Lucky lady dove at the first hurdle, jumped methodically early and then put it together. Geraghty wasn't worried.
"I watched all her tapes, she's like that, she warms up to it, she's the same at home. We jumped nine hurdles Wednesday, she jumped the first three slow, went back and jumped three nicely, then the last three she'd done it really well," Geraghty said. "Cyril said give her a good warm up before the start, she was good the whole way, traveled easy, she stays really well, stamina is her forte, so we put it to the test. She's been very uncomplicated since we got her."
The only complicated part was the filly and mare stakes schedule, which was aborted at Saratoga.
"She was ready to go, until the day before entries the first day when I got the call that the race wasn't going to go. She was ready to go the second day and it didn't happen," Murphy said. "Then, she slipped on the road one day and cut herself, we ended up backing off her for three weeks to a month. In hindsight, it was probably the best thing that happened to her, just freshened her up. She's been working really, really nicely the last two weeks. Carol-Ann's been riding her and she doesn't say much and she was saying how well she was doing."
One Lucky Lady began her career as a flat horse in England, breaking her maiden as a 2-year-old at Pontefract for her owner S W Logistics and trainer Barry Hills. She went on to win twice more on the flat, including a handicap at Bath in August, 2011, giving Hills a final winner before the legendary trainer retired from training (he subsequently returned when his son John died).
The daughter of Lucky Story transferred to Hills' neighbor in Lambourn, Nicky Henderson, and began her jump career. She won once from two starts over chase fences and garnered four wins from 17 starts over hurdles. She was purchased for 20,000 pounds by Clancy Bloodstock and Stroud/Coleman Bloodstock at the Doncaster May Sale.