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Curalina circles while the objection is considered after the 2015 Coaching Club American Oaks
The feature race on the first Sunday of the Saratoga meeting is the $300,000 TVG Coaching Club American Oaks (G1), featuring some of the top 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/8 miles, one complete lap of the main track. Conditions were excellent with cloduy skies and temperatueres in the low 80's. Curalina was sent off as the even-money favorite of her win in the Acorn Stakes (G1) on the Belmont Stakes undercard. In to challenge her included 5-2 second choice I'm a Chatterbox, third in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) after winning the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2), and 11-2 third choice Include Betty, winner of the Mother Goose (G1) after finishing second in the Black-Eyed Susan (G2).
Curalina draws away in the stretch
Saratoga Opening Day - with the Lake George Stakes (G2) and Schuylerville Stakes (G3)
Diana (G1) and Sanford (G2) Stakes - from Saturday
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 3 Curalina Velazquez 3.90 2.60 2.10 8 I'm a Chatterbox Geroux 3.40 2.60 5 Include Betty Van Dyke 3.20 Winning Time: 1:49.74 $2 Exacta 3-8 10.40 $2 Trifecta 3-8-5 31.00 $2 Superfecta 3-8-5-1 204.50
Left: Curalina in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Todd Pletcher said, "The start was better than the Acorn for her but it was still not a clean start. She got bumped on both sides and she got bumped going into the first turn. She was in a little bit of a difficult spot going down the backside. She always had pressure from both sides. I thought she closed determinedly. I don't think she has any distance limitations. I think the track sped up a bit. We were tracking a quality filly that was on the lead. They were going plenty fast early on."
Right: Curalina gets hosed off after the race.
Left: Curalina returns after the race. Winning jockey John Velazquez said, "I was coming to get (Florent Geroux, aboard I'm a Chatterbox). He took her out and she bumped me, and my horse switched to the left lead. Now I'm unbalanced and then I had to get after her to get her back in, and I just missed the wire. I knew two jumps before the wire, I was going to get him. When she got bumped and went to her left lead, she lost her balance, I lost my balance. I had to get back on her and just missed it. No doubt in my mind, I was going to get her."
Right: Second place finisher, disqualified from first, I'm a Chatterbox in the paddock before the race. Trainer Larry Jones said, "I thought she ran very well, coming off a long layoff like that. She took a little time off and was good to go. We set very legitimate fractions and still to hold on, I'm thrilled with the horse. The jock rode a great race, he didn't do anything to cause it. He stuck with the right hand the whole way. She kind of jumped the tracks where the gate comes across but you need to get the horse back over somehow. That's just the way it goes."
Left: Third place finisher Include Betty returns after the race. Jockey Drayden Van Dyke said, "It was a perfect trip, ideal trip. The fillies in front obviously never stopped running. We had a beautiful trip. She tries every time. She's such a sweet filly and she gives 100 percent every time. Running third in one of these races is big. She hits the board every time."
Right: The fillies break from the gate for the Coaching Club American Oaks. Winning trainer Todd Pletcher added, "Our filly was knocked off stride in a critical point in the race and got beat a couple inches. In my eyes, it probably made the difference. It takes some of the enjoyment out of it. Ideally you'd like to cross the wire first and have no doubts about it."
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