Sudden Separation Rallies to Win Merial Distaff Challenge Championship

The homebred 4-year-old mare overcomes a troubled start to score her first Grade 1 victory.

Q-Racing Journal

Sudden Separation was a prompt favorite in the Merial Distaff Challenge Championship on Saturday. PHOTO: Dustin Orona

A rough start didn’t stop odds-on favorite Sudden Separation, as the 4-year-old mare won Saturday’s 400-yard, $126,250 Merial Distaff Challenge Championship (G1) at Lone Star Park.

Prepped by Larry Sharp for owner Duane Murphy, Sudden Separation covered her trip in :19.655 and earned a 95 speed index under jockey James Flores. The mare’s winning margin was a half of a length from Visual Magic, and she returned a $3.40 win mutuel as the 7-10 favorite in the field of 10 fillies and mares.

“I thought she would break more sharply than she did, but she broke late and got bumped on both sides,” said Flores. “I stayed calm and let her balance and level out, then I asked her and she made a really big run at the end and was very strong.”

A homebred daughter of champion Inseperable and the graded stakes winning Okey Dokey Dale mare Okie Dokey Annie, Sudden Separation was making her first start since September 12, when she scored a convincing 1 1/4-length win as the 4-5 choice in the $33,000 Merial Prairie Meadows Distaff Challenge. The mare, a $10,000 claimer during her sophomore campaign, has won seven of her 14 starts, including five of her last six, and the $57,500 winner’s share of the purse from her fifth career stakes victory increased her earnings to $142,631, of which $135,644 has been banked this year.

“It’s all about her mama, Okie Dokey Annie,” said Sharp. “When you train one like that, it makes your job easy.”

“When she was 2 years old, she came down with pigeon fever,” added Murphy. “We had to bring her home and lay her off for a year. It took a while for her to get going, but she kept getting better. What it comes down to with her is guts and heart.”

Cheyenne Hero, Send Me This Wagon, Flyin Lion, Betrothen, Rock Princess, Im Hott Ur Nott, Silver Inlay, and Cartels Fortune completed the order of finish.

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