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.
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
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."