Trainer Jeffrey Thornbury took a chance by dropping his stakes winner Wild About Marie into some fairly deep waters Friday.
The 4-year-old daughter of Wildcat Heir responded by running what Thornbury called the best race of her career.
Wild About Marie sprang clear five wide in the stretch under jockey Robby Albarado and drew off to a 2-length win in the $100,000 Franklin County Stakes on the turf at Keeneland.
Wild About Marie, owned by Dawn and Ike Thrash, had two prior stakes wins, but the bay filly carried a four-race losing skid as she faced a field that included 7-year-old stakes performer Suzzona, winner of five of her past six, and Rose Catherine, second in the 2009 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Sent off at odds of 12-1 in the 12-horse lineup, Wild About Marie sat in seventh during the early portion of the 51/2-furlong test before angling out to set up her midstretch run.
With Bounding Bi weakening on the rail after setting fractions of :21.50 and :44.77, the stage was set for Wild About Marie to hit the wire in 1:03.01 over a course rated firm and give Albarado his third win of the afternoon.
"You'd only be surprised (by her performance) in this kind of crowd; this was a contentious bunch," said Thornbury, who saddled Wild About Marie to her sixth win in 16 career starts. "She's been training super. She ran great."
Supreme came running late to get second under Luis Garcia while 61-1 shot You Need Me got up for third.
Suzzona, the 8-5 favorite, disappointed in her attempt at a third straight stakes win, finishing 11th.
"I had a good trip, but at about the three-eighths pole when she usually starts her run, she didn't today," said Julian Pimentel, Suzzona's jockey. "It seemed like she was having trouble handling the surface."