The Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs is the biggest race on Friday, but the undercard featured 5 additional stakes events, two of which are graded. A crowd of 108,065, the second largest in Oaks history, was on hand for the festivities. The record of 111,243 was set in 2005. Get the Oaks results and photos here.
Oonagh Maccool runs away in the Louisville Breeders' Cup Handicap
The $300,000 Louisville Breeders' Cup Handicap (G2) featured older fillies and
mares going 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Eight distaffers went to the
post, with Irish-bred Oonagh Maccool sent off as the 8-5 favorite over 3-1
second choice Sweet Symphony. 6-1 shot Capeside Lady took over the lead from
the innermost post position and set fractions of 24.25, 47.93, and 1:12.57
while 21-1 shot Private Gift stalked her for the backstretch run. The pair
wore each other out, as they both faded out of contention rounding the far
turn. Rafael Bejarano aboard the favorite took her out four wide on the turn
after stalking the pace in fourth early on, and Oonagh Maccool found her best
stride and easily powered clear at the 3/16 pole. She easily held off the
late-running 7-1 shot La Reason to prevail by 3 1/4 lengths in a time of
1:42.96. Sweet Symphony was outrun the whole way and showed nothing in the
stretch, finishing seventh.
Full results chart from DRF
Trainer Todd Pletcher looks at his Louisville Breeders' Cup winner. He said, "She's a nice filly and both fillies ran really well. I'm very proud of both of them. She (Oonagh Maccool) acts like she's something special, she really does. She's been very, very good since we got her on the dirt. We'll run her back here on June 17 in the Fleur de Lis."
Second place finisher La Reason in the post parade. Her jockey Javier Castellano said, "She ran very, very good. She was second best today because the winner just ran away. We had a good trip. She settled good behind a fast pace, and when I asked her she finished great."
Stream Cat wins the Crown Royal American Turf
The $100,000 Crown Royal American Turf (G3) featured 3-year-olds going 1 1/16
miles on the turf. Only six entered the gate after 3 scratched. Go Between
was sent off as the 7-5 favorite over 3-1 second choice Giant Basil. 10-1
shot Gaelic Storm was quickest out of the gate and he was 1 1/2 lengths clear
of the field on the clubhouse turn after a quarter in 24.76. 7-2 third choice
Tahoe Warrior hustled in to challenge halfway down the backstretch, getting
the half in a slow 48.84. Go Between stayed right behind the pacesetters out
four wide. Rounding the far turn, Edgar Prado asked the favorite to make his
run and Go Between took over at the 3/16 pole and held the lead midstretch.
However, 4-1 shot Stream Cat, who broke slowly and was outrun the whole way,
closed strong through the stretch to just catch Go Between at the line,
winning by a neck in a time of 1:42.27. It was 2 3/4 lengths back to Gaelic
Storm in third, while Giant Basil was fourth.
Full results chart`
Stream Cat returns after the race. He jockey Julien Leparoux said, "Everybody wanted the lead and I just waited. When I asked my horse on the turn, he ran good for me. I know for myself that he was a very good horse because I rode him in the morning. Mr. Biancone worked hard with these horses, so it feels good to win."
Second place finisher Go Between in the paddock before the race. His jockey Edgar Prado said, "My horse ran hard. He tried his best. Credit to the other colt. He ran a good race. We tried, but we were just second best today."
It was a photo finish between Gouldings Green on the outside and Wild Desert in the Alysheba
The $100,000 Alysheba Stakes featured older horses going 1 1/16 miles on the main track. A field of eight went to the gate, including two from last year's Kentucky Derby, 6-1 shot Andromeda's Hero and 9-1 Greater Good. As well, Queen's Plate winner Wild Desert was making his first start since losing the Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie last year, and was sent off as 2-1 second choice. Longshots Artemus Surprise and Chippewa Trail battled on the front end for the first half-mile through quick fractions of 23.75 and 46.79, when Artemus Surprise dropped from contention. Chippewa Trail continued to hold the lead around the far turn, getting 3/4 in 1:11.59, but the fast fractions set the race up for the closers. Wild Desert, who had stalked the pace in third and out of trouble on the outside, made his move at the top of the stretch and had a short lead with a furlong to go. However, 3-2 favorite Goulding's Green, who was fifth early, was steadily closing the gap and got his head in front of Wild Desert in the final strides to get the win, completing the distance in 1:42.37 over the fast main track. It was a long 4 1/2 lengths back to late-running Andromeda's Hero in third, while Greater Good was sixth.
Full results chart
Gouldings Green leaves the winner's circle to go back to the barn. His jockey Corey Lanerie said, "I actually got by that other horse pretty easy. But my horse takes an aggressive ride and Tony (trainer Reinstedler) had warned me about that. About halfway through the stretch, I thought I may have been keeping the other horse running also, because he is so competitive, but I kept working and got to the wire first."
Second place finisher Wild Desert in the post parade. His jockey Rafael Bejarano said, "I might have waited too long to make my move. I was Sit, sit, sit, sitting until the quarter pole. I had a big hold on my horse. Then when I let him go the other horse had all the momentum. he was already running hard and my horse was just picking it up. He got the jump on me today."
Man of Illusion gets up by a neck over Justice for Auston
A field of twelve older horses went to the gate in the $100,000 Aegon Turf
Sprint (G3), a 5-furlong dash on the turf course. Jockey Rafael Bejarano
hustled 5-1 third choice Western Kind to the lead right away and he battled
with 28-1 outsider Lion And The Lamb through a first quarter of 24.90 and a
half in 44.75 before the longshot faded from contention. Western Kind
continued to hold the lead in mid-stretch, but 5-2 favorite Man of Illusion
was closing well from fifth early, while 39-1 longest shot Justice of Auston,
who had stalked the pace in third, was also making a late move. In the final
sixteenth, Man of Illusion wore down Justice for Auston to prevail by just a
neck, in a time of 56.28 for the 5 furlongs on firm turf. It was just 3/4
length back to 7-2 second choice Atticus Kristy in third, while Western Kind
faded to fifth.
Full results chart
Man of Illusion heads for the winner's circle after the race. His trainer Patrick Biancone said, "I think the horse was much sharper today. The last time, he had not run for a long time, and we didn't know much about him. He was a bit surprised to have a handler in the gate. The don't have that over there (Australia). But he was not as shart as today."
Second place finisher Justice for Auston in the post parade. His trainer Dale Romans said, "He ran as hard as he could. I couldn't see anything we'd have done diferent, just hang on the last jump. But he ran hard. He always runs good on this track."
Magnificent Song wins by a half length in the Edgewood.
Kicking off the stakes action on Oaks day was the $100,000 Edgewood for
3-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles over the turf course. A field of nine
went to post with Kitty Hawk sent off as the lukewarm 2-1 favorite over 4-1
second choice May Night. 7-1 shot Beau Dare took the lead right away and led
the field through fractions of 23.81, 47.91, and 1:11.88 while as many as 2
lengths clear of 9-1 shot Fiery Dancer in second. Turning for home, Beau Dare
tired and dropped from contention as Beau Dare inherited the lead with a
furlong to go. However, 6-1 shot Magnificent Song, who had raced in mid-pack
down the backstretch, went five-wide around the far turn and wore down Fiery
Dancer in the final 1/16 to prevail by just 1/2 a length in a time of 1:42.15
It was 3/4 length back to May Night in third, who just nosed out favored Kitty
Hawk in fourth. The race was trainer Todd Pletcher's third on the card.
Full results chart
Magnificent Song in the post parade. Her jockey Garrett Gomez said, "The pace wasn't too rapid, so I just had to cover her up and find a spot to run in. This was my fist time on her and Todd gave me great information. The gate opened and we just took it from there. It just took her a little while to get in gear. It took me about an eighth of a mile to get her going, but she finally got going and it was enough."
Second place finisher Fiery Dancer in the post parade. Her jockey Javier Castellano said, "I thought I'd win it around the quarter pole, that's where she really took off. I have to give a lot of credit to the winner, but my filly did finish very strong."
Triple Crown quick links:
Top Kentucky Derby Contenders - my list of the top horses headed to the Derby with profiles for each with photos, stats, and link to more info like past performances and pedigree.
Analyzing the top 2013 Kentucky Derby contenders - My annual analysis of the top contenders to try and select a winner by matching each to the profile of a Kentucky Derby winner using many of the more popular angles and statistical trends. This year there were is a 3-way tie for the top spot: Goldencents, Normandy Invasion, and Overanalyze.
2013 Kentucky Derby And Oaks Security - New enhanced stricter rules will be enforced this year. Be sure to read the rules as many have changed and more things are banned. There will still be magnetic wand searches of all patrons and many things are no longer allowed. Check here to make sure you don't bring anything they will confiscate.
Review: Triple Crown Handicapper 2013 - by Jim Mazur. Includes lots of stats for all 3 races and explains how to use a system of statistically derived negative angles to eliminate the "bad" picks.
Review: Kentucky Derby Greatest Moments - Commemorative DVD from Churchill Downs with video from 27 different runnings along with interviews, photos, and historical info. Definitely recommended for any racing fan!
Review: Churchill Downs - America's Most Historic Racetrack by Kimberly Gatto. An entertaining and informative account of the history of the track and it's most famous race, the Kentucky Derby, with lots of photos. Definitely recommended.