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Kerwin Clark celebrates aboard Lovely Maria after the winning the Oaks.
The $1,000,000 Longines 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 faced the starter in the 141th renewal of this 1 1/8 mile main track feature at Churchill Downs, run on Friday before 123,763 fans, the highest Oaks attendance in history. Track president Kevin Flanery said, "The Kentucky Oaks has grown to become one of the most prominent horseraces in America attracting a high-quality field with gifted equine and human athletes. With today's attendance, the Kentucky Oaks now ranks as the second highest attended racing event in America, only behind the Kentucky Derby." Conditions were excellent on Friday, with sunny skies and temperatures in the low 70's. Santa Anita Oaks (G1) and Santa Ysabel Stakes (G2) winner Stellar Wind was sent off as the 3-1 favorite. In to challenge her included 4-1 second choice Condo Commando, winner of the Gazelle (G2) and Demoiselle (G2), and 5-1 third choice Birdatthewire, winner of the Gulfstream Oaks (G2) and Forward Gal (G2).
Down the stretch in the Kentucky Oaks.
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 7 Lovely Maria Clark 14.60 7.80 5.40 2 Shook Up Albarado 20.20 11.40 8 I'm a Chatterbox Geroux 5.00 Winning Time: 1:50.45 $2 Exacta 7-2 296.00 $2 Trifecta 7-2-8 1,562.80 $1 Superfecta 7-2-8-12 4,126.60
Left: Lovely Maria heads to the winner's circle. Winning owner Brereton Jones said, "It never gets old. The good Lord has blessed us. All I can say is thank you to everyone who made this possible." This was the third time trainer Larry Jones and owner Brereton Jones have combined to win the Oaks. Their other Oaks winners were Proud Spell in 2008 and Believe You Can in 2012.
Right: Lovely Maria heads back to the barn. Winning trainer Larry Jones said, "This is the first (Oaks win) that the filly wasn't by Proud Citizen. So now I know I can do it with a different stallion. I do know (Brereton Jones) was a politician, but this guy is as real as it gets. She kind of touted herself in the Ashland and she's one of those horses that doesn't need to take her racetrack with her. You could put marbles out there and she'd probably run on it."
Left: Lovely Maria heads into the paddock before the race.
Right: Lovely Maria in the post parade. Winning jockey Kerwin Clark said, "I've been riding for 40 years and I won my first Grade 1 last month at Keeneland (Ashland) with this horse. Then we won this race today. I am very blessed to have this horse, to have Larry Jones in my life and believing in me, and to have Mr. (Brereton) Jones believe in me and stick with me."
Left: Second place finisher Shook Up in the post parade. Trainer Steve Asmussen said, "She's a good filly, and good races are in her future. Very proud of her. She was ready, and I loved how she acted, love how she ran. I wish she had won, but I'm very proud of her effort." Jockey Robby Albarado added, "I was content in my spot behind (Condo Commando and Angela Renee). She's matured quite a bit. When we turned for home, I thought we had a chance to get there."
Right: Third place finisher I'm a Chatterbox after the finish. Trainer Larry Jones said, "She came closing. She got squeezed back a little bit early, but she came closing. Third in the Kentucky Oaks. We can live with that." Jockey Florent Geroux added, "She broke a step slow and I was maybe a little farther back than I wanted but, other than that, everything went smooth. I was able to sneak my way through and she finished really hard."
Left: Beaten favorite and fourth place finisher Stellar Wind. Trainer John Sadler said, "She just got roughed up at the start, you can't be that far back today. She was way too far back. She was last around the first turn and the winners were all up close today so she never had any position. She just banged up out of the gate. Sometimes you get a bad trip so there's nothing you can really do. We'll take her back to California, freshen her up and then decide what to do next with her."
Right: Soon after the start. Jockey Victor Espinoza aboard Stellar Wind said, "She broke just a bit slow and that was a problem. I tried to stay up with the horse next to me, but we were getting outrun. Then when we went into the first turn and the dirt was flying back, she started jumping up and down. This wasn't her day."
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