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Farda Amiga winner of the Kentucky Oaks with Chris McCarron up

The Kentucky Oaks

Date: 05/03/02

Before the third largest Oaks attendance ever, 101,923, the lightly regarded Farda Amiga upset the 8-5 favorite Take Charge Lady in the 128th running of the Kentucky Oaks. The favorite went to the front as expected under Tony D'Amico, setting reasonable fractions of 23.29, 47.81, 1:12.33, and 1:37.38 for the mile, always about a length ahead of her nearest competitor. Meanwhile, jockey Chris McCarron aboard Farda Amiga, dismissed at odds of 20-1, settled her back in seventh place through the first half mile then angled out five wide nearing the far turn to start her rally. Down the long Churchill Downs stretch, she passed the tiring 2-1 second choice You, who had been tracking the early pace, and caused Habibti to check at the 3/16 pole as she leaned in towards the rail. Driving down the lane, she collared Take Charge Lady at the 1/16 pole and drew off to win by 1 1/4 lengths in a final time of 1:50.41 for the 1 1/8 miles over a fast track. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to third place Habibti, who was 1/2 a length ahead of You. The Brazilian owners of Farda Amiga were jubiliant over their win with much yelling, chanting, and waving of the Brazilian flag.

Because of the incident at the 3/16 pole, Habibti's jockey Victor Espinoza lodged a claim of foul against Farda Amiga but the stewards disallowed the claim and the result stood. McCarron said of the claim of foul, "There was no contact. She did drift in, but You drifted out. If Victor [Espinoza] had to steady, it was just for a stride. You drifted out more than we drifted in." Espinoza said, "I was in a good spot on the turn when the winner came up to me and I was forced to check. My filly lost momentum and you just can't lose momentum at any time in a race like this. My filly never really recovered." This was Chris McCarron's third Oaks victory, and for Farda Amiga, her third win in six starts.

The other important event on the card was the Louisville Breeders' Cup where Spain won to increase her earnings to a total of $3,304,244 breaking Serena's Song's record and making her the top North American distaff earner of all time.

The Kentucky Oaks

Purse: $500,000     Distance: 1 1/8 miles

Pgm  Horse              Jockey            Win   Place  Show
 1   Farda Amiga        McCarron        42.00   11.20  5.40
 9   Take Charge Lady   D'Amico                  3.80  3.00
 2   Habibti            Espinoza                       3.80

Farda Amiga passing Take Charge Lady in deep stretch.
Winning Time: 1:50.41 $2 Exacta 5-6 38.40 $2 Trifecta 5-6-7 225.60

Farda Amiga crosses the wire just in front of Take Charge Lady. Jockey Chris McCarron said, "Turning for home I felt a lot of power, a good turn of speed. Turning for home I felt confident we'd pick up a nice check. By the eighth pole I thought we had a good chance of overhauling [Take Charge Lady]."

First time by with Take Charge Lady out front followed by Ile de France. Take Charge Lady's jockey Tony D'Amico said, "She broke sharp and she set fractions that were pretty easy for her. She ran a gritty, gritty race, but the winner was just too much." Trainer Ken McPeek added, "This is why I didn't run her in the Derby. Before the winter started, I was questioning whether or not she's a mile and an eighth filly."

Farda Amiga looks on while her owners celebrate the victory. Trainer Paulo Lobo said, "She is an amazing filly. She had run four times on the turf and then we thought maybe we should switch tracks. She's by Broad Brush, so why not try dirt. We had a meeting with the owners to find her next race and we looked at Churchill and we liked the long stretch."

Spain crosses the wire alone in the Louisville Breeders' Cup Handicap with a final time of 1:43.93 to become the richest distaff earner in North America. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas said, "These records are always up for grabs. I am very happy to have trained both (Spain and former record-holder Serena's Song). I have a soft spot for both of them"

Prince Ahmed bin Salman of the Thoroughbred Corporation leads Spain to the winner's circle. Jockey Jerry Bailey said, "She broke well and no one really wanted the lead so I decided to sit up there. It was a very comfortable pace and I was really surprised that Forest Secrets didn't put up more of a fight."

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