The $500,000 Kentucky Oaks (G1) is the premier race in the country for 3-year-old fillies, and is the female counterpart to the Kentucky Derby. A full field of 14 went to post in this 1 1/8 mile main track feature at Churchill Downs before a record crowd of 116,046, topping the previous mark of 111,243 set back in 2005. As expected, Blind Luck was sent off as the 6-5 favorite, off her 2 1/2 length victory in the Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park. In to challenge her included 5-1 second choice Amen Hallelujah, second in the Bonnie Miss after winning the Davona Dale, both at Gulfstream, and 8-1 third choice It's Tea Time, second in the Ashland last out and making just her fourth lifetime start.
Blind Luck rallies on the outside of Evening Jewel and Tidal Pool.
9-1 Tidal Pool was sent to the front first time past the stands by jockey Calvin Borel, and she set early fractions of 23.95, 48.15, and 1:12.50 while saving ground down on the rail. 22-1 Ailalea stalked her in second while jockey Rafael Bejarano kept favorite Blind Luck at the back of the field, 10 lengths off the pace down the backstretch. Turning for home, Ailalea tired while Blind Luck switched to the outside for running room. 13-1 Evening Jewel, who was fourth early, came through to pass Tidal Pool at the 3/16 to gain a short lead through 1 mile in 1:37.48, but Blind Luck was gaining with every stride. The pair hit the line together in 1:50.70. The photo determined that Blind Luck got up by a nose for the win, and it was another 2 3/4 lengths back from Evening Jewel to Tidal Pool third.
There were five other stakes races on the card with the Oaks. Full results for all of them with more photos are here.
Left: Blind Luck circles with her flowers before entering the winner's circle. Her trainer and co-owner Jerry Hollendorfer said, "`I was real concerned. But there was no panic button pushed. I didn't know she was a winner until they put her number up. It was a tough win and she deserved it. I am very grateful and thankful. This race is very special and the best for 3-year-old fillies. It means a lot to me, our breeder and the rest of the partners. When I bought her, I paid way more than the $40,000 claiming price, so we always anticipated she would be a stakes horse. She's delivered." Asked if she would go next in the Preakness, Hollendorfer said, `"I would say we probably wouldn't do that. It's too soon and the Oaks was our goal all along. We'll come up with a plan later. Let's enjoy this one first."
Right: Blind Luck heads back to the barn after the race.
Left: Blind Luck heads into the paddock before the race. Majority owner Mark DeDomenico added, "This horse does this over and over. She nearly gives me heart failure. I always ask Rafael, 'Don't make it that close.' Jerry should be on that (Hall of Fame) ballot. He should be on that ballot the next time it comes around."
Right: Blind Luck in the post parade. Her jockey Rafael Bejarano said, "I saw a lot of speed in the race. I tried to leave her alone in the beginning. She broke kind of slow a little bit, like she does always. From the 5/8 pole, I had to make a middle move to get into position before the final turn. After getting into position, I waited a little bit and then into the straight, I knew she was going to show a big kick at the end, but I knew I had it. My filly has always fought hard. The other horse was still running strong. She gave me an extra kick, and that's why she finished. Right at the wire she pulled ahead. I was not for sure 100% (of the photo result) but I was 99%."
Left: Second place finisher Evening Jewel returns after the race. Her trainer Jim Cassidy said, "Oh, man, that was hard. We had the same result in the Los Virgenes at Santa Anita and I thought we had won that one, too. Everyone around us today thought she had won; we did, too. I knew we did. She's a game, game filly. When she saw (Blind Luck) she dug in and came back at her again. Toughest beat of my career, no question. I've been beaten some dirty noses in Grade 1's at other tracks, but given the context here: Kentucky Oaks, all that money, huge crowd, this was the toughest one of all." Jockey Kent Desormeaux added, "That stings. This race has eluded me; I really wanted to win it. And I knew turning for home I was a winner. And I got beat. Really stings."
Right: Third place finisher Tidal Pool in the post parade. Her jockey Calvin Borel said, "She ran a good race. She just got outrun, more than anything. When I called on her she went about her business and just got outrun." Trainer D. Wayne Lukas added, "Good. We ran a hell of a race. We just weren't good enough. Ran a good one."
Triple Crown quick links:
Oxbow upsets in the Preakness - Oxbow led the entire way in the Preakness Stakes (G1) on Saturday at Pimlico with Itsmyluckyday second and Mylute third. Heavy favorite Orb made a mild move to finish fourth. Get the results, charts, and photos here.
Preakness undercard stakes results - There were 7 other stakes on the card, highlighted by the Dixie Stakes (G2) won by Skyring and the Allaire DuPont Distaff Stakes (G3) won by Summer Applause. Get the results, charts, and photos for 6 of the races here.
Fiftyshadesofhay wins the Black-Eyed Susan - Fiftyshadesofhay just got up to win the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) on Friday at Pimlico by a neck over Marathon Lady with favorite Emollient 6th. On the undercard, Last Gunfighter won the Pimlico Special (G3). Get the results, charts, and photos here.
Analyzing the Preakness Stakes Contenders for 2013 - My annual analysis using popular angles and statistical trends to see who best matches the profile of a Preakness winner. The big surprise is that Kentucky Derby winner Orb is not in the top group!
Orb wins the Kentucky Derby - Orb was far back early but took the lead in the stretch and drew off to win the Kentucky Derby (G1) by 2 1/2 lengths over longshot Golden Soul and Revolutionary. Get the results, charts, and photos here.
More Kentucky Derby Photos - More photos from the day including more of Orb, the trophy, the roses, Martina McBride, and lots of mud.
Kentucky Derby undercard stakes results - There were 5 other stakes on Derby day including the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) won by 2012 Horse of the Year Wise Dan and the Humana Distaff Stakes (G1) won by Aubby K. Get the results, charts, and photos for all 5 races here.
Princess of Sylmar upsets in the Kentucky Oaks - She rallied from far back to win the Kentucky Oaks by a half length over Beholder and Unlimited Budget, while favorite Dreaming of Julia was fourth. Get the results, chart, and photos here.
Kentucky Oaks undercard stakes results - There were 5 other stakes on Oaks day including the La Troienne Stakes (G2) won by Authenticity and the Alysheba Stakes (G3) won by Take Charge Indy. Get the results, charts, and photos for all 5 races here.
Kentucky Oaks Entries - A field of 11 fillies will go, with Gulfstream Oaks winner Dreaming of Julia favorite at 3-1 from post 8. Get the post positions, odds, and free past performances here.
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.