Irv Naylor’s One Lucky Lady, always prominent under Ross Geraghty, fought off a late-charging challenge from The Grange to win the Iroquois Steeplechase’s $50,000 Margaret Currey Henley for fillies and mares by a half-length on Saturday.
Michael J. Moran’s Ivy Mills finished third in a field of seven mares, and Beverly Steinman’s Secret Reward was fourth. One Lucky Lady, winner of last fall’s Peapack Stakes at Far Hills, N.J., ran the Henley’s 2 1/4-mile distance in 4:30.40 on firm turf.
Trainer Cyril Murphy said he believed One Lucky Lady was the horse to beat in the Henley, but the only big question was pace. The Henley didn’t have much early speed, and One Lucky Lady–who usually runs in midpack and makes a late move–was on or near the lead for much of the race.
Check Mark Stables’ Willow U went to the lead immediately and switched off with One Lucky Lady until the running started at the final turn. Riverdee Stable’s The Grange, ridden by Bernie Dalton, made a huge move into the last of 14 fences and drew onto One Lucky Lady’s flanks.
One Lucky Lady fought back under a vigorous ride by Geraghty and held off The Grange for the victory. Ivy Mills, the reigning National Steeplechase Association champion, finished 4 1/4 lengths farther back in third under Sean McDermott.
One Lucky Lady won her second race of the year. She was victorious in a Middleburg Spring Ratings Handicap against males on April 23.