LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Rusty Arnold was thinking Romantic Vision would end her career next month in the Grade 2 Falls City at Churchill Downs, but when the mare ran another huge race Sunday at Keeneland, he had a dramatically different option to consider.
Romantic Vision earned a "Win and You're In" spot into the Nov. 3 Breeders' Cup Distaff at Del Mar by finishing two lengths ahead of Martini Glass in the 62nd running of the Grade 1, $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster, but both Arnold and G. Watts Humphrey Jr. -- the breeder and owner of the 5-year-old daughter of Lemon Drop Kid -- were unsure afterward whether they will accept the expenses-paid berth.
"We'll have to talk about it," said Arnold. "We'll enjoy this first."
Humphrey and Arnold both harbor a particular fondness for Keeneland, so they were elated to witness how the 1 1/8-mile Spinster unfolded amid a steady drizzle and over a sea of slop. With Brian Hernandez Jr. riding, Romantic Vision broke sharply from her outside post in the field of nine fillies and mares, settling into a rhythmic stride behind the longshot leader, Duchess of Duke, for the run down the backstretch.
"She was there for me the whole way," Hernandez said. "She put us in a great spot. Going into second turn I was really confident."
Romantic Vision took over without much effort approaching the quarter-pole, and although Martini Glass briefly loomed a threat, she couldn't make any late headway. Romantic Vision returned $14.80 as fourth choice after finishing in 1:49.70 for the first Grade 1 triumph of her 19-race career.
Blue Prize was along for third, another 5 1/2 lengths back, while Lockdown, the 2-1 second choice, was up for fourth after being badly compromised by a poor start. Bar of Gold, the 19-10 favorite, was never a threat when finishing sixth.
Arnold was cognizant not only of how well Romantic Vision had trained before and after she earned a career-high 92 Beyer Speed Figure in winning her previous race, the Grade 3 Locust Grove on Sept. 16 at Churchill, but also her prior record over the Keeneland track. She won an allowance race here last October and then again in April.
"She now has three wins and a second from four starts here at Keeneland," Arnold said. "I think it's fair to say she loves this track. She loved this today."
The $2 exacta (11-1) paid $101.20, the $1 trifecta (11-1-10) returned $387.90, and the 10-cent superfecta (11-1-10-6) was worth $126.25.
On-track attendance, surely suppressed by the gloomy weather, was 10,153.
The Spinster was the ninth and last graded stakes on the opening three-day FallStars Weekend at Keeneland. Live action resumes Wednesday with the final Win and You're In race of the 17-day fall meet, the Grade 3 Jessamine for 2-year-old turf fillies.