The $1,000,000 Kentucky Oaks (G1) is the premier race in the country for 3-year-old fillies, and is the female counterpart to the Kentucky Derby. After the scratch of Flashy Gray, a field of only 10 went to post in this 1 1/8 mile main track feature at Churchill Downs on Friday before 113,820, the second highest Oaks attendance in history. The weather was breezy and warm, in the high 70's, with intermittent clouds. Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) winner Dreaming of Julia was sent off as the 3-2 favorite over 7-2 second choice Midnight Lucky, winner of the Sunland Park Oaks last out, and 9-2 third choice Unlimited Budget, undefeated in 4 races including the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2).
Down the stretch in the Kentucky Oaks.
Jockey Rafael Bejarano sent Midnight Lucky to the lead first time past the stands and she set fractions of 22.84, 46.79, and 1:11.34 while pressed by 9-1 Beholder. Entering the stretch, Midnight Lucky tired allowing Beholder to inherit a 2 length lead through 1 mile in 1:36.11. 39-1 Princess of Sylmar, 9th early, came out 4 wide and closed with a rush to win by 1/2 a length in 1:49.17 over the fast main track. It was another 2 lengths back from Beholder to Unlimited Budget third, and a head back to favorite Dreaming of Julia fourth.
Pletcher, who will saddle five runners in Saturday's 139th Kentucky Derby, is in position to become the first trainer since Ben Jones in 1952 to win the Oaks and Derby in the same year. Jones won the Oaks with Real Delight and the Derby with Hill Gail.
There were five other stakes races on the card with the Oaks. Full results for all of them with more photos are here.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show
6 Princess of Sylmar Smith 79.60 29.40 14.00
3 Beholder Gomez 9.00 5.60
4 Unlimited Budget Castellano 3.80
Winning Time: 1:49.17
$2 Exacta 6-3 727.00
$2 Trifecta 6-3-4 3,470.80
$2 Superfecta 6-3-4-8 12,445.00
Left: Princess of Sylmar heads to the winner's circle. Her jockey Mike Smith said, "It was extremely rough leaving there. We got banged around pretty good but she settled right into stride. After that, I just rode her like Todd had told me to, to be honest with you. They thought they had moved a little early last time out and to really be patient. And when you think it's time to move, maybe even be a little more patient. It really worked out great."
Right: Princess of Sylmar gets water tossed on her before heading back to the barn.
Left: Princess of Sylmar heads into the paddock before the race. Her trainer Todd Pletcher said, "We're pleasantly surprised with her effort and her win. We didn't much like her first breeze here (:48.60 April 20), but her second one (:49.20 April 27) was much better done. She's a good filly; we knew that all along. And we took her out of her natural running style last time. This time she made that good run and got it done."
Right: Princess of Sylmar in the post parade.
Left: The start of the Oaks showing how several of the fillies got roughed up, including eventual winner Princess of Sylmar.
Right: Second place finisher Beholder returns after the race. Her trainer Richard Mandella said, "She ran great and I'm proud of her. But she might have lost this race in the post parade. She was so full of herself and so wanting to go, that she was a handful in the parade and she gave the pony a heck of a time. Oh, well. At home, we can get her to settle
down, but here - with all the people - it was a different story. But she ran well and we're proud."
Left: Third place finisher Unlimited Budget in the post parade. Her trainer Todd Pletcher said, "It was a really good race for her. She was in a good spot and looked like she might be able to be right there at the finish. But today just wasn't her day."
Right: Fourth place finisher and beaten favorite Dreaming of Julia in the post parade. Her trainer Todd Pletcher said, "She lost it out of the gate. She got creamed coming out of there and it is hard to overcome that sort of thing. She tried hard to make it up and I thought she ran very courageously. But it was too much to ask."
First time by with Midnight Lucky and Beholder leading and Princess of Sylmar next to last. Midnight Lucky's jockey Rafael Bejarano said, "I had a good trip. My horse broke right on the top, really good. I tried to settle the pace, but I had a little pressure. I was really comfortable in the beginning with my horse. By the 1/2 mile pole, she was getting tired. She didn't have any excuses."
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.