Irv Naylor’s One Lucky Lady made her first U.S. start in Far Hills’ $50,000 Peapack Stakes, and she made her own luck on Saturday when she tracked down a dead-game Bau Bai Gold to win the stakes race for fillies and mares by a half-length.
Cherry Knoll Farm’s Maggie Neary, making her first jumps start since 2012, finished a length farther back in third, and Michael Moran’s Ivy Mills finished fourth, a head back.
Ridden by Ross Geraghty, One Lucky Lady ran the Peapack’s 2 1/8 miles in 4:03.40 on firm turf. The race was run in memory of Betty Merck, a long-time Far Hills Race Meeting Association board member and The Fields co-owner who died in April at the age of 95.
As expected, Jennifer Pitts’ Bau Bai Gold went to the lead at the start under Carol-Ann Sloan and set a well-measured pace with Ginobi, also trained by Jazz Napravnik, and One Lucky Lady immediately behind her.
Geraghty asked One Lucky Lady to run after the final fence on Far Hills’ backstretch, and she put a head in front of the front-runner. But Bau Bai Gold had something in reserve and argued for the lead through the stretch. One Lucky Lady opened approximately a length after the last fence, but Bau Bai Gold trimmed the margin slightly to the finish line.
Trainer Cyril Murphy said he received One Lucky Lady in May, after she won an open handicap at Kempton Racecourse in England. He had her ready for Saratoga Race Course’s two stakes races for fillies and mares, but neither filled.
“She’s a very mature horse, very professional,” Murphy said of One Lucky Lady. “I thought she would be on the lead or every close to it, and she was. I thought she was the best horse in the race.”