Carmalley Chrome returns to winning ways in Indiana First Lady Stakes

The 14th running of the $150,000-guaranteed Indiana First Lady Stakes seemed to set up perfectly for Carmalley Chrome before she ever stepped foot on the track for the race Wednesday, Aug. 3. The three-year-old filly got a break in her racing schedule that timed out just right for the stakes race and also drew post one, assisting her with her early speed, which is her preferred running style.

A clean break out of the gate in the Indiana First Lady put Carmalley Chrome and jockey Rodney Prescott right where they wanted to be with an easy move to the lead in the eight-filly lineup. Sassy Miss Officer and Fernando De La Cruz sat right on her heels early on along the inside while Tequila and Salt and Francisco Torres tracked the progress of Carmalley Chrome on the outside.

Torres had a firm hold on Tequila and Salt and looked to be a strong candidate for a late surge in the race. Early fractions of the race were modest in :24.38 and :48.29 during the one mile and 70-yard contest and Prescott kept a firm hold of Carmalley Chrome as well as they led the field into the final turn. Sassy Miss Officer was the first to be called upon to challenge Carmalley Chrome for the lead in the turn and Tequila and Salt also responded with some late speed. But once the field straightened up for the stretch drive, Prescott began to ask Carmalley Chrome to kick into a swifter gear and the Cat Dreams filly responded, opening up on the competition and eventually cruising under the wire by one and one-half lengths for the win. Sassy Miss Officer beat Tequila and Salt to the finish line for second. The final time of the race was 1:42.64.

“They (the other horses) let us get by with an easy pace and that helped us out a lot,” said Prescott, who is Indiana’s all-time leading jockey. “We were able to have something left at the end. She (Carmalley Chrome) also had a little break in between races and she bounced back to herself today.”

Carmalley Chrome, tagged as the favorite of the field, paid $5.20, $3.20, $2.60 across the board. The win was her fourth in six starts for 2016. Unraced at two, Carmalley Chrome is owned by Tom Roche and trained by Mike Nance.

When asked about her return to her previous form this year with her win in the Indiana First Lady Stakes, Nance explained some reasoning behind the change in form for Carmalley Chrome.

“There were a bunch of things that merged all at the same time with this filly,” said Nance. “She has run six times in two months and she was running good so we just kept racing her. She just needed a break after her last start, but she showed today that she is back to herself.”

Carmalley Chrome finished a distant sixth in her last start as the heavy favorite of the $100,000 Hoosier Breeders Sophomore Stakes and was eased toward the end of the race over a sloppy track. Prior to that, she had only been defeated once in her brief career for Nance and Roche, who is a new owner in Nance’s barn.

“Tom is the breeder on this filly, too, and actually owned Cat Dreams at the time she was bred,” said Nance. “He has put a lot of money into the breeding business here in Indiana. Right now, he’s on a plane to Scotland, so he won’t know how she ran today until he gets off the plane over there.”

Carmalley Chrome nearly doubled her career bankroll with her win in the Indiana First Lady Stakes. She now has just under $200,000 in career earnings.