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Joel Rosario celebrates as Pauline's Pearl heads to the winner's circle after the La Troienne
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, and this year was no exception with 100,188 fans packing the stands and infield. Five graded stakes were contested on the Oaks undercard, both over the fast main track (wet-fast for the Oaks) and firm Matt Winn turf course. The weather changed frequently, with fans and participants experiencing sunny skies, dark clouds, heavy rain, and even a lightning storm that prompted weather warnings for fans to take cover, with temperatures near 70. Churchill Downs president Mike Anderson said, "Today we celebrate Secret Oath and her connections. The 148th Kentucky Oaks will be remembered as a triumphant return to a full-capacity crowd. We thank the fans, sponsors, horsemen, horseplayers, and all participants who contributed to today's record-breaking success."
Get the Oaks results and photos here.
Pauline's Pearl wins the La Troienne Stakes (G1)
Jockey Florent Geroux sent favorite Shedaresthedevil to the lead first time by through fractions of 24.02, 47.80, and 1:11.78 while pressed by 13-1 Ava's Grace and stalked by 18-1 Jilted Bride. Turning for home Shedaresthedevil continued to lead through 1 mile in 1:36.07 but Pauline's Pearl, 4th early under Joel Rosario, came out for room and outfinished Shedaresthedevil to win by 1/2 a length in 1:42.46. It was another 2 3/4 length back to Ava's Grace third.
Full results chart from DRF
Left: Pauline's Pearl in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Joel Rosario said, “Steve told me to watch her at the gate; that she could break slow. But she came out fine and I got a good position. I got pushed out a bit on the turn (for home), but once we straightened out she leveled off. She ran well through the stretch.”
Right: Pauline's Pearl heads back to the barn. Winning trainer Steve Asmussen said, “So many things go into it. She was a nice filly early that continuously competed and got better. She came back a 4-year-old! All four races this year have been tremendous. It is so satisfying for her to come back and get her first Grade 1 on Oaks Day. She did her best last year in the Oaks. You can see the improvement one year has made in her.”
Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Shedaresthedevil returns to be unsaddled. Jockey Florent Geroux said, “She ran hard. And she was still running at the end. The winner was best today.”
Right: Third place finisher Ava's Grace in the post parade. The Robertino Diodoro trainee improved her record to 2 wins, 1 second, and 3 thirds in 9 starts, earning $309,900 for owner Cypress Creek Equine.
Olympiad wins the Alysheba Stakes (G2)
Jockey Tyler Gaffalione sent 13-2 Weyburn to the lead first time by through fractions of 24.21, 48.43, and 1:12.15 while pressed by Olympiad and stalked by Happy Saver. Entering the lane Weyburn tired as Happy Saver inherited the lead through 1 mile in 1:35.51. Olympiad, confidently ridden by Junior Alvarado, brushed with Happy Saver at the 3/16 but kicked away late to win by 2 1/2 lengths in 1:41.60. It was another 1 1/2 lengths back to 26-1 Title Ready third.
Full results chart
Left: Olympiad in the winner's circle. WInning jockey Junior Alvarado said, “The more ground you give Olympiad the more room he has to open up. It takes him awhile to get into his nice rhythm but then after that it’s over. Happy Saver was trying to do his job, riding tough on me trying not to give me much room for my horse to finish up his run. I knew there was a horse in there but I tried to help a little bit, to keep my momentum going forward, but I like I said I wasn’t doing anything, it was the horse on the outside putting the pressure on me. Worse case I wasn’t getting taken down, it would be the horse on the outside.”
Right: Olympiad heads back to the barn. Winning trainer Bill Mott said, “We thought he was a nice horse since he was a 2-year-old. He missed a lot of time in his 3-year-old year unfortunately. The patience that we were allowed to have with him and waited until he got right paid off. He’s a really good horse and competing at a top level. It looked like Irad (Ortiz, Jr. on Happy Saver) came in and shaved us a little bit, made it a little tight and the rider on the inside had to take up. I was a little concerned about it. I knew it wasn’t us and another horse caused us to put pressure on the inside horse.”
New Year's Eve wins the Edgewood Stakes
Jockey Jose Ortiz sent Spicer to the lead first time by through fractions of 24.07, 48.64, and 1:13.00 while pressed by 7-1 My Philly Twirl and stalked by 29-1 An Agent Mistake. Turning for home Spicer tired as 14-1 New Year's Eve, last early under Luis Saez, circled the field 7 wide to lead through 1 mile in 1:37.31. Kept to task by Saez, New Year's Eve drew off to win by 2 3/4 lengths over McKulick in 1:43.39. It was a long 4 1/2 lengths back to favorite Dolce Zel third.
Full results chart
Left: New Year's Eve heads to the winner's circle. Winning trainer Brendan Walsh said, “She’s been just a bit slow mentally. But she’s getting it bit by bit. So we gave her some time to figure things out, then we gave her a push. We put blinkers on her for her last two works and she seemed to pick it up a bit. I was quietly confident that she’d be better today. And she was.” Jockey Luis Saez added, “She relaxed really well. I was able to save ground around the first turn. I came out a little after a half-mile because I saw horses in front stopping. At the top of the stretch, she was in the clear and boom. She was loving it. I could feel how happy she was.”
Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite Dolce Zel returns after the race. The Chad Brown trainee improved her record to 2 wins, 1 second, and 1 third in 5 starts, earning $210,905 for owners Madaket Stables, Michael Dubb, and Robert LaPenta.
Matareya wins the Eight Belles Stakes (G3)
Jockey Florent Geroux sent Pretty Birdie to the lead exiting the chute through fractions of 22.27 and 44.72 while pressed by Marissa's Lady and stalked by 19-2 Sweet Dani Girl. Turning for home, Matareya, 6th early under Flavien Prat, came out for room to take the lead through 3/4 in 1:09.16. Kept to task by Prat, Matareya drew off to win by 2 1/4 lengths over Pretty Birdie in 1:21.86. It was another 2 lengths back to 13-1 Wicked Halo third.
Full results chart
Left: Matareya in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Flavien Prat said, “She broke well but I just got outrun in the first part. Then I took a chance going to the inside where there were good horses to follow. Then we had a fair pace, was traveling well and when I tipped her out, she was there for me. I thought it was a really good run for her.”
Right: Matareya heads back to the barn. Winning jockey Brad Cox said, “She stepped up and ran a huge race. I’m very proud of her. It was heads-up riding by Flavien (to quickly get to the inside). They kind of started to get away from her the first 1/8 mile, 3/16 mile. We thought she might be a little closer to the pace. But he didn’t panic, he let her kind of find her stride, save some ground in the turn, tipped out, and defeated a very good filly (Pretty Birdie). He put himself in a good position down the backside, so she didn’t have to do too much work heading for home.”
Arrest Me Red wins the Twin Spires Turf Sprint (G3)
Just Might and 22-1 Johnny Unleashed dueled for the lead down the back and around the turn through fractions of 22.86 and 46.36 while stalked by Arrest Me Red and 16-1 The Lir Jet. In the lane the pacesetters tired as Arrest Me Red inherited the lead through 5f in 58.03. Kept to task by Irad Ortiz Jr., Arrest Me Red drew off to win by 1 3/4 lengths over late-running 40-1 longest shot Bran in 1:04.18. It was a nose back to 10-1 Gregorian Chant third.
Results chart from DRF
Left: Arrest Me Red in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. said, “I know my horse, he doesn’t want to be on the lead. It was gonna be a fast pace, and he put me in a great position without using too much, so I was happy where I was. I rode him last time 5 1/2 furlongs at Gulfstream and he ran well. He needed the race maybe. I work him in the mornings and I was very positive coming into the race.”
Right: Arrest Me Red heads back to the barn after the race. Winning trainer Wesley Ward said, “He broke really well. You never know how it’s going to go on the soft turf when they’re up there on the pace. They were pressuring Irad (Ortiz Jr.) from the outside and he told me he decided to take back a little. He got a little breather. They were a little wide coming around the turn, but when they got to the quarter pole I could see he still had quite a bit of horse. I was crossing my fingers down the lane that no one was coming. We got lucky and won. He ran huge. I’m grateful to the (owners) Jacksons (Lael Stable) for sending him to me.”
Bleecker Street wins the Modesty Stakes (G3)
Jockey Tyler Gaffalione sent 27-1 Mona Stella to the lead first time by through fractions of 25.18, 50.31, and 1:14.55 while pressed by 17-2 Curly Ruth and stalked by 11-1 She Can't Sing. In the stretch Mona Stella tired allowing Curly Ruth to briefly lead through 1 mile in 1:38.44 before also tiring. Favorite Bleecker Street, 8th early under Flavien Prat, came out 6 wide for room and came through between horses to outfinish Fluffy Socks by 1/2 a length in 1:50.10. It was another 1/2 length back to Hendy Woods third.
Results chart from DRF
Left: Bleecker Street in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Chad Brown who trains the first two said, “With both my horses far back with that pace, I was quite worried. I figured, if the closers are going to come, Bleecker Street is going to come and Fluffy Socks will be following right behind her. Then it’ll come down to a 1-2 race. Bleecker Street ran amazingly well, and you have to remember, Fluffy Socks is back after three weeks’ rest from a wide trip at Keeneland. These horses are pretty close, Bleecker Street had more rest, but an undefeated horse, 6 for 6, she’s hard to fault. So trip dependent, pace dependent, course dependent. So she’s a remarkable talent. Without a doubt, it was her best race yet.”
Right: Bleecker Street in the post parade. Winning jockey Flavien Prat said, “I didn't feel like going around Irad (on Fluffy Socks) I was going to be able to catch him. I felt like my only chance to catch Irad was to split horses and she was there for me. I thought it was a great performance by Bleecker Street to win that race because we went slow early and I was further back than I wanted to be.”
Get the Oaks results and photos here.
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