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Jockey Alex Solis and Orchestrator after winning the Bourbonette.
The distaff counterpart to the Lane's End Stakes is the $150,000 Bourbonette Oaks (G3) for 3-year-old fillies prepping for the Kentucky Oaks. A field of 9 faced the starter in this 1 mile Polytrack test, with Helen Belen sent off as the 9-5 favorite off a win in the Valdale Stakes. In to challenge her included 7-2 second choice Cascading, 10th in the Forward Gal last out at Gulfstream after winning the Glorious Song at Woodbine, and 5-1 Age of Humor, 3rd in the Silverbulletday at Fair Grounds in her last start.
Orchestrator and Age of Humor duel down the stretch.
Jockey Sal Gonzalez sent favorite Helen Belen to the front to set an uncontested pace of 24.42, 47.68, and 1:12.11 while as many as 3 lengths ahead of 7-1 Orchestrator second. Entering the stretch, Helen Belen tired from the quick pace, allowing Orchestrator to take over the lead. Age of Humor, 4th down the backstretch, came on to challenge at the 3/16 pole. The pair battled the rest of the way, but Orchestrator pulled ahead in the final strides to win by a neck in 1:38.29. It was another 2 1/4 lengths back to 12-1 Midway Holiday third. Favorite Helen Belen faded to finish 5th.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 7 Orchestrator Solis 16.60 7.00 5.60 9 Age of Humor Baze 5.80 3.80 1 Midway Holiday Lebron 9.00 Winning Time: 1:38.29 $2 Exacta 7-9 83.80 $2 Trifecta 7-9-1 885.60 $2 Superfecta 7-9-1-3 5,932.40
Left: Orchestrator in the winner's circle with trainer Ken McPeek at ther hip. McPeek said, "She ran super. Alex did a great job getting her out of the gate. She's been pretty flawless on the Poly up to now. In California we had a hard time finding a race for her, so we nominated her here. I'm not sure about the Kentucky Oaks. I'd prefer to run her back on synthetic somewhere."
Right: Orchestrator in the paddock before the race.
Left: Orchestrator heads to the front shortly after the start.
Right: Orchestrator in the post parade. Her jockey Alex Solis said, "She was very game today. She didn't want to get beat. I just wanted to make sure she stayed in front. She needed that last race. It made the difference today."
Left: Second place finisher Age of Humor in the post parade. Her trainer Mike Maker said, "She was second best. I think she'll get better from here. Russell told me she made a couple of mistakes during the race. She wasn't really focused and she ducked in when he hit her right-handed. The Kentucky Oaks should be next if all goes well." Jockey Russell Baze added, "She had a good trip. She put herself in a good position. She was a little bit green down the lane and I think if she had been a little more focused she could have gotten by the winner."
Right: Third place finisher Midway Holiday returns after the race. Her trainer Greg Foley said, "I don't think the post position cost her. Victor said she didn't like it being kicked back in her face. Other than that, I thought she ran well." Jockey Victor Lebron added, "She broke real well like she always does. She didn't like the dirt coming back to her, but once I got her outside she ran a lot better."
Kicking off the stakes action on Saturday afternoon was the $50,000 Queen Stakes for older fillies and mares sprinting 6 furlongs. 11-1 Sweet Gladys battled for the lead with 20-1 Silver Time down the backstretch through fractions of 21.86 and 44.87. Entering the stretch, Sweet Gladys tired while 5-2 second choice Proud Heiress came on late to challenge. Silver Time and Proud Heiress battled through the final furlong but Silver Time prevailed in a photo finish in 1:10.15. It was another 5 3/4 lengths back to 2-1 favorite Secret Gypsy third.
Winning trainer Jeff Barkley said, “She had been doing really good off of her last race. It looks like a mile isn’t her cup of tea, so we’ll keep her sprinting. She likes the surface here a lot. It looks like the outside is the best place to be today. John did a real good job keeping her out there.” Jockey John McKee added, “All the credit goes out to (trainer) Jeff (Barkley). He just told me to take her out there and let her be comfortable. She has a lot of speed anyways. When she changed to her left lead, she gave me another gear. I think that made all the difference today.”
The last stakes race on the card was the $50,000 Fairway Fun Stakes for older fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the Polytrack. 6-1 third choice Grande Annee battled for the lead with 10-1 Irish Ridge through fractions of 25.24, 49.21, and 1:13.33 before 3-5 favorite My Baby Baby assumed command 4 wide into the stretch. My Baby Baby opened a 2 1/2 length lead at the 1/8 pole through 1 mile in 1:38.01, and was all out to hold of late-running 4-1 second choice Danzon to win by a neck in 1:44.72. It was another 3 1/4 lengths back to Irish Ridge third.
Winning trainer Ken McPeek said, "She had been running against some really good mares out in California and we had been thinking about bringing her back home to get a stakes win. We looked for a spot for awhile and this race seemed ideal. We'll think about going to Keeneland for the Doubledogdare. He (Alex) didn't want to hit her there at the end because she was running so hard on her own, and I'm glad he didn't." Jockey Alex Solis added, "She had an incredible trip. She's a very special horse, so professional. In her last race (the Santa Maria Handicap), I really thought we were going to get there at the 1/4 pole, but she was just up against two monsters. She won very easy today."
On to the Lane's End Stakes, the Rushaway, and the Hansel Stakes
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