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2008 Kentucky Oaks Results

Gabriel Saez celebrates aboard Kentucky Oaks winner Proud Spell
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Proud Spell wins the Kentucky Oaks
Date: 05/02/2008

The $500,000 Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs is the most important race in America for 3-year-old fillies. Steady rain fell most of the afternoon rendering the main track sloppy. Although 12 made final entry, just 10 went to post in this 1 1/8 mile classic, when the connections of Eight Belles opted to compete against males in the Kentucky Derby, and then Elusive Lady was scratched the day of the race. Proud Spell was sent off as the lukewarm 3-1 favorite, exiting a third place finish in the Ashland at Keeneland last time out after winning the Fair Grounds Oaks over then-undefeated champion Indian Blessing. In to challenge the Brereton Jones homebred were 7-2 second choice Country Star, fifth in the Ashland, and 4-1 third choice Pure Clan, third in the Fantasy at Oaklawn in her final prep.

First time by with Bsharpsonata, Little Belle, and
Proud Spell out front

7-1 shot Bsharpsonata went to the front first time past the stands and set fractions of 23.73, 48.86, and 1:12.95 over the slop while being stalked by favorite Proud Spell and 6-1 Little Belle down the backstretch. Country Star sat fourth while Pure Clan was unhurried early near the tail of the field. Entering the stretch, Bsharpsonata continued to lead but Proud Spell moved up to challenge. At the 3/16 pole Proud Spell passed the tiring Bsharpsonata and drew away from Little Belle to an impressive 5 length victory in 1:50.01. It was just 3/4 length back from Little Belle to third place finisher Pure Clan who put in a good rally but was left with too much ground to make up in the stretch.

There were five other stakes races on the card with the Oaks. Full results for all of them with more photos are here. My apologies for the dark photos, but it was dark, windy, and raining hard all afternoon unfortunately.

Pgm  Horse              Jockey         Win   Place  Show
 8   Proud Spell        Saez          8.80    4.80  3.20
 7   Little Belle       Maragh                6.40  4.00
11   Pure Clan          Prado                       3.80

Winning Time:  1:50.01

$2 Exacta 8-7                52.60
$2 Trifecta 8-7-11          239.20
$2 Superfecta 8-7-11-1    1,395.80
Full results chart from DRF

Winning jockey Gabriel Saez celebrates after crossing the finish line in the Oaks. Saez said, "I was just doing my best job, you know, tried to put her in a good position. She broke sharp, and I put her in the race, staying second, third, a good position. The other filly on the lead (Bsharpsonata), I tried to stay behind her. Just doing my job to put her in a perfect spot to win the race."

Left: Winning trainer Larry Jones checks out Proud Spell after she gets the Oaks lily wreath. Jones said, "She ran very well. She looked liked she was very well within herself as she was going down the backside. She already moved into second and Gabriel had her placed perfectly. We were very fortunate with this filly because she has never been passed in her career. We felt like if we can run the speed down, she would be in good shape. This filly can run all day long. She is just a quality filly. We don't think (the sloppy track) helped us. We didn't like it in the Breeders' Cup. She can handle any kind of surface and actually Churchill's track when it gets wet is very good. When it gets water on it, it's very good."

Right: Proud Spell heads into the winner's circle.

Winning owner Brereton C. Jones, jockey Gabriel Saez, and trainer Larry Jones in the post race interviews. Owner-breeder Brereton C. Jones, a former Governor of Kentucky, said of the winning jockey, "This is one of the up-and-coming young riders in the country. He's fearless; nothing bothers him."

Left: Proud Spell heads back to the barn after the race.

Right: Proud Spell in the post parade.

Second place finisher Little Belle out front near the start and striking a pose before heading into the paddock before the race. Her trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said, "She handled the track very well. We were second best today. The other filly won impressively and we were second best today and happy that she ran so well. She might have been in a little tight, might not have been great down on the rail."

Third place finisher Pure Clan in the post parade and heading into the paddock before the race. Her trainer Bob Holthus said "She was wide turning for home, 4 or 5 wide, but she closed well and couldn't catch them today. Lost too much ground. It looked like she handled (the mud) all right. She just had a little trouble on the turn for home, lost her momentum but regained it."

Proud Spell starts to draw off at the 8th pole with second place finisher Little Belle in the center (blue silks) and third place finisher Pure Clan on the far outside (white blinkers).

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