Kentucky Oaks Day on Friday usually draws the second largest attendance of any raceday in North America, second only to the Kentucky Derby run the very next day. In contrast to the heavy rains predicted for Derby day, it was sunny with temperatures in the 80's. Five graded stakes races were contested over the fast main track and firm turf course on the Oaks undercard.
Unrivaled Belle upsets Rachel Alexandra in the La Troienne Stakes
Kicking off the stakes action on Oaks day is the $400,000 La Troienne Stakes (G2) for older fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the main track. It marked the return to Churchill Downs of 2009 Oaks winner and Horse of the Year, Rachel Alexandra, sent off as the 1-5 favorite in the field of 6 despite finishing second in the New Orleans Ladies last out. 31-1 Be Fair went to the lead on the clubhouse turn getting a quarter in 24.79 before Rachel Alexandra pulled up alongside her to challenge. The favorite kept her head in front down the backstretch and around the far turn through a half in 48.81 and 3/4 in 1:12.53. Entering the stretch, Be Fair tired and faded from contention, allowing Rachel Alexandra to open a short lead at the 3/16 pole. 9-1 Unrivaled Belle, who was 3rd early, made a run on the outside to set up a duel to the line. The pair battled for the final furlong noses apart, but Unrivalled Belle dug in late to win by a head in 1:42.97. It was a long 5 lengths back to 25-1 Morena third.
Full results chart from DRF
Unrivaled Belle in the winner's circle. Her trainer Bill Mott said, "I had confidence in my filly today; I thought she's run very well. But I wasn't confident we'd beat Rachel Alexandra. I mean we're talking about a champion filly, the Horse of the Year. I told Mr. (Peter, owner) Vegso to expect that we'd run well, but not that we were going to win. But here we are. My filly ran huge. She just ran great. And I don't think it was that (Rachel Alexandra) ran poorly. She ran her race, too. We just outdid her. They were eyeball to eyeball there and my filly got her. I saw at the 3/8 (pole) that Kent (rider Kent Desormeaux) was sitting there with a lot of horse. I said 'All right, we've still got something in the tank.' She ran great through the lane - all heart."
Beaten favorite Rachel Alexandra in the post parade and leading first time by.
Her trainer Steve Asmussen said, "She's just not been
as fast as last summer. She ran a good race, but not a great race. She
does carry a lot more weight. Calvin (Borel) did absolutely nothing wrong
today. I thought he got along with her great today. There's an old adage
in racing: You get paid for what you do, but you pay for what you do. I
think there's some hangover. What we have to realize is there has been
improvement since her last race. We don't need a knee-jerk reaction. The
defeat last time put a lot of pressure on. You don't run a horse expecting
to get beat, especially Rachel."
Lou Brissie wins the Kentucky Juvenile Stakes
The $100,000 Kentucky Juvenile Stakes (G3) featured a field of 5 two-year-olds sprinting 5 furlongs on the main track. 9-10 favorite Twelve Pack Shelly was sent to the lead on the outside through fractions of 21.92 and 45.17. Entering the stretch, 7-2 third choice Lou Brissie came out wide for the drive to challenge the pacesetter. Lou Brissie passed the tiring Twelve Pack Shelly at the 1/8 pole and drew off to win by 1 1/2 lengths over late closing 11-1 Boys at Tosconova in 57.80. It was just a neck back to favorite Twelve Pack Shelly third.
Full results chart
Lou Brissie in the winner's circle. His jockey John Velazquez said, "I didn’t want to be too far back and have too much dirt hitting him and get discouraged. Once I got him in the clear and the 5/16 pole, he got into a good rhythm and I just kept him there. Down the lane I just had to keep him mind on running. The way his personality is, in the future going longer will be better.”
Silver Timber wins the Churchill Downs Turf Sprint
The $100,000 Churchill Downs Turf Sprint (G3) featured a field of 11 older horses go 5 furlongs over the Matt Winn Turf Course. 4-1 third choice Starfish Bay battled for the lead down the backstretch with 24-1 Central City through fast fractions of 21.25 and 43.57. Central City held a short lead in midstretch, but 5-2 favorite Silver Timber and 7-2 second choice Chamberlain Bridge were closing late down the center of the course. Silver Timber reached the line a neck in front of Chamberlain Bridge in a new course record time of 55.45 seconds. It was just a nose back to Central City third.
Full results chart
Silver Timber in the winner's circle. His owner Michael Dubb said, "He's the best, his trainer (Chad Brown) is the best and Julien (Leparoux) is the best. I'm just a passenger along for the ride. We are aware of that (course record) and we’re not surprised. He won at Keeneland last time out and was only about 80 percent. He is just now fully cranked. We claimed him hoping he would be a useful New York state-bred, but he's far exceeded expectations. You have to give Chad a lot of credit. His horses come first. He could have been here and got all the glory, but he stayed in New York with his horses. Right now as we speak he's setting up his Saratoga operation."
Arson Squad wins the Alysheba Stakes
The $150,000 Alysheba Stakes (G3) featured older horses going 1 1/16 miles on the main track, including several who contested the Kentucky Derby last year. 6-1 Friesan Fire went to the early lead through fractions of 24.86 and 48.95 while being stalked by 16-1 Enriched. On the far turn, Friesan Fire tired allowing Enriched to take a short lead, however 4-1 second choice Arson Squad, who was 4th early, came through on the outside to take the lead at the 3/16 then drew off late to win by 2 1/4 lengths over late-running 12-1 Flying Private in 1:43.28. It was another 1 1/2 lengths back to Enriched third, while 3-1 favorite Cool Coal Man was sixth.
Full results chart
Arson Squad in the winner's circle. His trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said, "This jock (Paco Lopez) must get along great with this horse because he used to race way out of it. I don't know if it's the jock or the horse, but it's great. I told the Siegels that we'd keep him here if he ran well today. He gets along with this track and ran great (in the Stephen Foster) last year."
Doubles Partner wins the American Turf
The $175,000 American Turf Stakes (G2) featured a field of 9 three-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on the turf. 4-1 second choice Lost Aptitude set the pace off the hedge through fractions of 23.41, 46.87, and 1:11.03 while about 1 1/2 lengths in front of 11-1 Strike The Tiger in second. Entering the stretch, Lost Aptitude tired and faded to last, but the fast pace set the race up for the closers. 9-2 third choice Doubles Partner, 5th early, saved ground around both turns and came out for the drive, taking over the lead at the 3/16 pole and drawing off to win by 1 3/4 lengths over late-running 10-1 Asphalt in 1:41.05. It was another 3 lengths back to 15-1 Guys Reward third, while 9-5 favorite Setsuko was fourth.
Full results chart
Doubles Partner before heading to the winner's circle. His jockey Garrett Gomez said, "I had a perfect trip, I really did. I was able to follow two horses that were following the leaders. I just followed behind them for the first 3/8 of a mile. I got to the second turn and I was actually going to move out around them. Just as I started to commit myself to go around them (Saint Eligius) started getting out real bad and left me enough room to drive my truck through. I slid up the fence after the leaders cleared out. You couldn’t have written a better script on how to ride both fences around the turns and be able to get out. It was a very nice trip and this was a good day to have it on.”
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.