Jockey Chantal Sutherland didn't have much history to run through when asked Saturday about her prior race experience over the Keeneland track.
"I'd like to say there are so many (wins) here I couldn't remember," the California-based rider joked.
In just her second career mount on the Lexington oval, Sutherland earned a victory in a fashion that almost guarantees it won't have any trouble staying in her memory banks.
The ongoing theme of females dominating the top action in racing played out before the 22,591 at Keene-land when Sutherland guided California invader Great Hot to a narrow win over fellow female rider Greta Kuntzweiler aboard Groupie Doll in a four-horse blanket finish in the Grade II, $250,000 Raven Run Stakes on the main track.
Though Sutherland had galloped horses at Keeneland during the early days of her career, her only prior race mount came when she rode Kitty in a Tizzy to a fourth-place finish in the 2010 edition of the Raven Run.
The 35-year old Sutherland was able to judge the sometimes tricky finish-line setup at Keeneland to perfection, however, driving 4-to-1 shot Great Hot on the rail in the stretch and holding off a determined charge from Groupie Doll on the far outside to take the seven-furlong test by a head and spearhead the first 1-2 finish by female riders in a Keeneland graded stakes.
"It looks like there are two wires but I just kept my head down and kept riding," said Sutherland, who became the seventh female jockey to win a graded stakes at Keeneland. "I could see I was by myself but I could see someone coming way wide and when I looked up, it was Greta. I really wasn't sure if I won or if she got it. I felt like I had my nose in front but it's sometimes wishful thinking."
Sutherland had been aboard Great Hot for four of her previous six career starts, including her third-place run in the Grade I, 11⁄16-mile Lady's Secret Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 1.
Sprinting seems to be where the dark bay daughter of Orientate is at her best, though, as she rated between horses mid-pack through fractions of :22.07 and :44.62 set by Dr. Diamonds Prize and even recovered from being bumped early on. After advancing behind Honey Chile, Sutherland angled Great Hot to the inside while Kuntzweiler was swinging graded stakes winner Groupie Doll out six-wide off the final turn after being shuffled back early in the 12-horse field.
"I didn't really want to be that far back. It left her with a lot to do on this track," said Buff Bradley, trainer of Groupie Doll. "She had to come around the full field. It's a tough beat, it stings."
Owned by Luiz Dannemann, Great Hot covered the distance in 1:21.70 to earn her fourth win in seven career starts. Dr. Diamonds Prize held for third, just a half length behind Groupie Doll, but was disqualified and placed fourth behind 7-to-2 favorite Mizdirection for interference in the stretch.
Considering she does own two prior wins on the dirt, trainer A. C. Avila said a start in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint was likely next for Great Hot.