LOUISVILLE — It was the 44th and final triumph of the Churchill Downs Spring Meet for Robby Albarado. It was also the one the veteran jockey humbly admitted he had the least amount to do with.
In his first time aboard the four-year-old filly Closeout, Albarado was treated to a first-class experience. With little more than mild urging, Closeout surged up on the outside past Stealin' Kisses in the stretch to win the Grade III, $114,900 Locust Grove Handicap by three lengths on the final day of the Churchill Downs meet Sunday.
"I didn't have to do much on her. I can't take credit for this one," Albarado joked. "I will take the 10 percent (of the purse). No credit, but I will take the 10 percent."
Since making her career debut last March at Fair Grounds, Closeout has made a habit of bestowing good fortune to those around her.
A full brother to graded stakes winner Capital Request, the daughter of Repriced has won five of her 10 career starts and broke through for her first graded stakes triumph when she captured the Grade III Pucker Up Stakes at Arlington Park last Sept. 6.
Though the bay filly was a bit rank during her fifth place finish in the Grade III Mint Julep Handicap on June 6 — her first start since last October — trainer Tom Proctor was not surprised to see Closeout resort to her usual self Sunday.
"She hadn't run in a long time, and a lot of times they'll be rank coming off that so I actually kind of was expecting it," said Proctor, who also won the Locust Grove in 2006 with Rich In Spirit. "She is turf all the way. I think she's got two or three full brothers that have all won stakes.
"She's the best of her brothers and sisters and they were pretty good."
As has been the case in most of her wins, Closeout rated at the back of the field — which was reduced to five because of three scratches — while Tensas Yucatan, Zee Zee and Stealin' Kisses fought with each other on the front end through a quarter in :23.84 and a half in :47.99.
Stealin' Kisses emerged from the scrum to take the lead entering the stretch, only to be overtaken by the late-running Closeout, who covered the one-mile distance in 1:38.38 over a yielding turf course.
"We had an honest pace up front, and she showed a lot of confidence when she tugged on me at the three-eighths pole," Albarado said. "It was just a matter of her staying on her feet and getting over the soft going. It was a Cadillac ride."
Kim and John Glenney's Gloria Goodbody, who was coming off an allowance win on June 19 at Churchill, rallied in the lane for second with Stealin' Kisses fading to third.
"Coming from an allowance race to stakes to see her step up and get second is fantastic," John Glenney said.
Closeout didn't make her first start until her 3-year-old season and has been off the board only three times while racking up earnings of $310,671.
"She showed right off the bat she could run when I got her," said Proctor, who added he had not decided where the filly would make her next start. "I wasn't surprised when she won first time out because she showed a lot in the mornings."
■ Despite Calvin Borel putting in a three-win surge Sunday, Julien Leparoux was able to earn his third Spring Meet jockey's title at Churchill and fifth crown overall, notching 62 victories to Borel's 61. Steve Asmussen saddled 29 winners to claim his third spring training title and sixth overall while Ken and Sarah Ramsey secured their eighth spring owners title and 15th overall with 18 winners.