The promise IEAH Stables saw in Laragh months ago was on full display Thursday as the 2-year-old filly strolled to a front-running 43/4-length upset victory in the $150,000 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine Stakes at Keeneland before a crowd of 9,007.
IEAH Stables purchased Laragh privately from Mike Ryan shortly after the daughter of Tapit broke her maiden at Woodbine on Aug. 9.
Although Laragh came home fifth in her stakes debut, the Grade III Natalma Stakes at Woodbine, she stepped up emphatically in the 11⁄16-mile turf test Thursday as the fifth choice in the betting, leading every point of call to earn a possible trip to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf on Oct. 24.
"Her last race she caught a very soft turf up in Canada and it's very hard to win at Woodbine under those conditions," said trainer John Terranova, who took over care of Laragh from Mark Casse. "Mark did a hell of a job developing her in Canada and we were just pleased to get her and anxious to see what she could do."
With Edgar Prado aboard, Laragh was winging away with a 2-length lead as she hit the half in :47.26, and she got stronger once she reached the lane.
The gray filly continued to kick clear under mild urging, covering the distance in 1:43.54.
"She has very tactical speed and put me there from the beginning," Prado said. "I was very happy when she slowed down a little on the backside and I had enough left at the end."
Habaya came up for second with Complicity slipping back to third, just ahead of beaten favorite Abbott Hall.
Laragh paid $25.20 to win.
While the Jessamine was part of the Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" program, Terranova said the short turnaround to the Breeders' Cup could make sending Laragh difficult.
"We'll have to talk it over with the owners and everybody," he said. "We're just excited about this one right now."