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Finnegans Wake with Victor Espinoza returns after winning the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic
Kentucky Derby Day is the biggest card of racing at Churchill Downs. Before the main event, there were five graded stakes contested over the main track and turf course before the record crowd of 170,513. Conditions were ideal with a dry fast main track, firm turf, sunny skies, and temperatures in the mid 70's.
Kentucky Derby results are here.
The first Grade 1 event on the card is the $300,000 Humana Distaff Stakes (G1), featuring older fillies and mares sprinting 7 furlongs on the main track. Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) winner Judy the Beauty was sent off as the even-money favorite in the field of 7 over 5-2 Dame Dorothy, second in the Santa Margarita (G1), and 11-2 Sweet Reason, winner of the Test (G1) at Saratoga but 8th in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. 18-1 Moonlit Stroll set fractions of 23.09 and 46.47 while stalked by Judy the Beauty. Entering the stretch Judy the Beauty gained a short lead through 3/4 in 1:10.22 but Dame Dorothy, 3rd early, closed late to win by a neck in 1:22.67. It was another neck back to Moonlit Stroll third.
Results chart from DRF
Left: Dame Dorothy in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Todd Pletcher said, "She got bounced around there pretty good at the start, but Javier was able to bounce her into the perfect spot. It was just harried the first 100 yards. We've been trying to find out her optimum distance. I wasn't a 100 percent sure that as a daughter of Bernardini, she couldn't go long. But I thought her 7/8 race at Gulfstream was probably her best to date. After that we decided to back her up into here. This is probably her niche. This was a big win. It was important for our filly to get the Grade 1."
Right: Dame Dorothy in the post parade. Winning jockey Javier Castellano said, "You've got to use this filly away from there; she's not the quickest out of the gate. So I got after her and she responded. When we got position, I felt very good. Every time I asked her, she gave it to me. Coming down the stretch I knew it was going to be close. I knew Judy the Beauty was going to be tough. But my filly kept responding and she gave me so much confidence I felt I could celebrate a little before the wire."
Left: Finnegans Wake in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Victor Espinoza said, "I got there just in time. Turning for home I thought I would catch him, but then I said, 'Uh-oh, this is going to be tough.' I started working on him. He's old. He wants to do whatever he wants. He wanted to take his time, so I let him do whatever he wants and enjoy himself in the beginning. Then after a half-mile I said, 'You know what, we better start moving.' I started working on him. I wanted to save ground at the end, but any little stop would have cost him the race. To swing to the outside was the best thing for him."
Right: Finnegans Wake in the post parade. The Peter Miller trainee improved his record to 7 wins, 4 seconds, and 3 thirds in 29 starts, earning $1,402,975 for owners Donegal Racing and Rockingham Ranch.
Divisidero wins the American Turf (G2)
Full results chart
Left: Divisidero in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Buff Bradley said, "We worried a little bit yesterday because it looked like the turf course favored speed, but I told Rafael, 'Don't take him out of his game and let him run his race.' He's an awesome horse. He's professional already and it's just his third race. It's unbelievable. The owners have been great, the Gunpowder Stables. We've come up with a plan to give this horse plenty of time, and that's what's helped us."
Right: Divisidero in the post parade. Winning jockey Rafael Hernandez said, "We broke good. The race set up perfect for us and the first turn I lost a little ground because I was pushed me a little bit out so my horse stayed there he never took himself back or anything. At the 3/8 I started asking, he started picking up and just saving more ground. Turning for home we got him to the lead and he did the rest."
Left: Tepin in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Julien Leparoux said, "Before the race we were looking at the race and said, 'There isn't much speed.' She is a natural speed filly, so we let her run the first part of it and on the backside she relaxed beautifully and she kicked on nice at the end. When she won at Gulfstream, she was very impressive. I really like the filly and was real confident today."
Right: Tepin gets a pat from jockey Julien Leparoux. Winning trainer Mark Casse said, "These two races, she's come back really well. You know, this was Danzig Moon's workmate the other day, so when he worked so good, everybody was saying, 'Who was that?' When they got the half in 48-and-change, and I said, 'It should be over.'"
Left: Private Zone in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Jorge Navarro said, "He's been training really well coming into this race. I knew when the other horse came he would dig in. He's a fighter. I just let Martin ride his race."
Right: Private Zone heads back to the barn. Winning jockey Martin Pedroza said, "This is my first stakes win at Churchill. I am so happy to win this race for my good friend (retired jockey) Rene Douglas. I am blessed that I am healthy and doing well and I can win a race like this for him. I'm 48, but I feel like I'm 21. This is some horse. He is so good. When that horse went by me (Nates Mineshaft on the turn for home), I didn't get nervous. I just let my horse do what he does, and I knew he'd be game. Then I hit him left handed and it was all over. He's just so tough."
Left: Competitive Edge in the winner's circle with race namesake Pat Day on the far left. Winning trainer Todd Pletcher said, "I thought that was very impressive, especially for his first time going a straight mile. Johnny said it was pretty straightforward. The scary thing is that as impressive as that was, I think there is more in the tank."
Right: Competitive Edge in the post parade. Winning jockey John Velazquez said, "That's what we were looking for. We were looking for something fast enough to where I didn't have to be in his mouth and he rated perfectly, so it was perfect. All went according to plan."
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