It took some maneuvering and faith on the part of her connections. But after more than a year of disappointments, Senada finally got all the ingredients she needed to regain her winning formula.
The 4-year-old filly earned her first win since breaking her maiden in March 2010 when she rallied four-wide in midstretch to capture Sunday's $125,000 Rood and Riddle Dowager Stakes by three-quarters of a length on the Keeneland turf.
Having sold to owners Roy and Gretchen Jackson for $800,000 at the 2008 Keeneland September yearling sale, Senada had problems justifying the price on the track.
She had lost 11 straight heading into the 11/2-mile Dowager, but the daughter of Pulpit was beaten by just a neck in her first try at that same distance at Saratoga in August and was third in the Grade III, 13⁄8-mile Glens Falls Stakes on Sept. 5.
"I thought a lot of her from the very beginning; she just couldn't quite make it," trainer Barclay Tagg said. "It's hard to find these kind of distances without putting her in a stakes, and then it's hard to get them to beat all those horses who have already won stakes. I said to the Jacksons in Saratoga, the (11/2 miles) was an experiment but, fortunately, it worked out pretty well."
Sent off at 16-1 on Sunday, Senada saved ground in ninth under Edgar Prado through 11/4 miles before angling out in the stretch and collaring Upperline in the final strides.
Prado, who had ridden Senada's dam, Owsley, to victory in the 2002 Grade II Galaxy Stakes, guided the filly across the wire in a final time of 2:31.19 over a firm turf for her second win in 16 starts.
"She handled the course beautifully and came home strong," said Prado, who rode three winners on the card.
Graded-stakes winner Cheetah, the 6-5 favorite, faded to third after taking the lead leaving the final turn.