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Jockey Julien Leparoux celebrate his win in the Fleur De Lis Handicap aboard Happy Ticket.
Outside of Kentucky Derby week, the biggest raceday at Churchill Downs during the Spring Meet is Stephen Foster Super Saturday. A crowd of 12,056 was on hand for six graded stakes races, under sunny skies and very warm temperatures. Although the Stephen Foster Handicap is the main event, there were five other stakes worth over $1 million total.
The $321,900 Fleur de Lis Handicap (G2) saw just 5 older fillies and mares go 1 1/8 miles on the main track. Oonagh Maccool was sent off the 3-5 favorite, and she was loose on the lead through a half in 47.62 and 3/4 in 1:11.69. However, 3-2 second choice Happy Ticket, who sat off the pace in third early after a poor start, came on strong four-wide when asked by Julien Leparoux and just got up to prevail by a head in a time of 1:49.23. It was a long 3 1/2 lengths to 30-1 longest shot Character Builder in third.
Full results chart from DRF
Winning jockey Julien Leparoux said, "When I asked her, it was a very good
feeling. It was good that the leader (Oonagh Maccool) broke so sharp, because
I could just sit and track the leader. That was good for me and my filly,
Brilliant in the paddock before the race. Winning trainer Robby Albarado said, "The best way to describe his performance is that he ran to his name, Brilliant. He does everything so well. He's such a classy horse. This horse is going to go on and do some bigger things. Hopefully, we'll see him here in the fall. I'm going to give credit where it's due and that's to Neil Howard and his team. They were really patient with him. I rode him with the utmost confidence. He's such a good horse."
High Cotton in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Todd Pletcher said, "When he turned for home, I didn't know how much more he was going to find, but when Garrett got after him, he seemed to respond really gamely. You really had to see the start of the Arkansas Derby to really appreciate how bad of a trip he had that day. He got annihilated at the start and came back all cut up. Since then, he's put together two really good races."
A field of eleven 3-year-old fillies contested the $229,000 Regret Stakes (G3) at 1 1/8 miles on the turf course. 34-1 longshot Beau Dare was loose on the lead for the first mile through fast fractions of 22.89, 46.36, and 1:10.62 while as many as 3 lengths clear of the rest of the field. After a mile in 1:35.30 Beau Dare tired, as 9-10 favorite Lady of Venice, who was unhurried near the back of the pack early, found running room inside the 3/16 pole in order to charge through to win by 4 lengths over 3-1 second choice Magnificent Song, in a stakes record time of 1:47.31. It was just a neck back to 60-1 longest shot Precious Kitten in third.
Full results chart from DRF
Lady of Venice in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Patrick Biancone said, "She's a lovely filly; really, really good. She won some stakes in France and we knew she was really good, and she just keeps proving it. We've taken our time with her and are going step by step. Hopefully she likes Churchill and will be back here for the Breeders' Cup." Jockey Julien Leparoux added, "When you've got a nice horse, you can go anywhere. My filly showed how good she is today, so we'll see where she goes from here. When she found her spot, no one was going to catch her."
Trainer Bill Mott with jcokey Robby Albarado and My Typhoon after the race. Albarado said, "I went in with a lot of confidence. It was her second start back this year. Bill's (trainer Mott) done a great job with her to get her ready. She was a little more powerful today. She really turned it on. She finished it a lot nicer. She came back a little better this year than last year."
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