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Tyler Gaffalione celebrates aboard Pretty Mischievous after winning the Kentucky Oaks.
The $1.25 million 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. After none of the drawn field scratched, leaving also-eligibles Hoosier Filly, Julia Shining, and Taxed out, a full field of 14 faced the starter in the 149th renewal of this 1 1/8 mile main track feature at Churchill Downs, run on Friday before 106,381 fans, under sunny skies and a post time temperature of 77 degrees, with the main track rated fast. Wagering from all-sources on the full Kentucky Oaks racecard totaled $74.9 million up $74.6 million last year. All-sources wagering on the Kentucky Oaks race was $22.4 million compared to the record of $24.3 million set in 2022.
Pretty Mischievous leads down the stretch in the Kentucky Oaks.
Jockey Florent Geroux sent 18-1 Flying Connection to the lead first time by through fractions of 23.07, 46.96, and 1:11.28 while pressed by 30-1 Dorth Vader and stalked by 10-1 Defining Purpose. Into the lane Flying Connection tired as 10-1 Pretty Mischievous, 5th early under Tyler Gaffalione, came out 4 wide and swept to the front, opening up a 3 length advantage through 1 mile in 1:36.55. 13-1 Gambling Girl, 10th early, swept 6 wide into the stretch and put in a strong rally but Pretty Mischievous held her off to win by a neck in 1:49.77. It was another 2 1/2 lengths back to late-running 30-1 The Alys Look third, and a neck more to favorite Wet Paint fourth.
There were six 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 14 Pretty Mischievous Gaffalione 22.74 10.10 7.40 3 Gambling Girl Ortiz Jr. 12.84 8.36 2 The Alys Look Castellano 13.80 Winning Time: 1:49.77 $2 Exacta 14-3 403.14 $0.50 Trifecta 14-3-2 1,997.14 $1 Superfecta 14-3-2-7 15,391.09
Left: Pretty Mischievous in the winner's circle. Michael Banahan, director of bloodstock for owner-breeder Godolphin said, "We were very high on this filly, probably from the day that she went into Brendan's barn. Late last year and through the wintertime, we thought she was probably our best filly we had in any of the barns that we have horses in. Brendan made a few little adjustments. Maybe we were a little disappointed in the Fair Grounds Oaks. At the top of the stretch, we thought we were going to win by 5 or 6 and the filly probably still has plenty to give. As Brendan said, we need to put a set of blinkers on her. She worked well in them. A couple of those works were probably pretty important to figure out what she liked and what we want to get out of her."
Right: Pretty Mischievous heads back to the barn. Winning trainer Brendan Walsh said, "This is the kind of thing you dream about, to win a Grade 1, especially the Oaks at Churchill Downs, it's a long way from Cork in Ireland. It's indescribable, it's exactly what we're here for, and why these guys (Godolphin) breed these good horses, and why everybody works so hard. It's just one of the few occasions where everything came together, and it came right on the big day."
Left: Pretty Mischievous walks over before the race. Walsh added, "Just delighted that the whole thing came together. We've planned this for a very, very long time. We hit a couple of bumps on the road but nothing major. And we were able to make a few adjustments. Just thanks to everybody on the team, my team, that work for me. They did great work, tireless work. Michael and Dan [Pride] and everybody in Godolphin who are just the greatest people to work for. Everything is discussed, and they're just a dream to work for. And Tyler, he did a super job, not just today, but he came in, and he's worked this filly from the very get?go and came in and worked her three times before she ran today, so that we would get it right."
Right: Pretty Mischievous in her winner's blanket and the lillies. Winning jockey Tyler Gaffalione said, "It's amazing. I feel so blessed. The trip worked out perfectly. I stayed out her way and she took me the whole way. What an incredible filly. Just having the relationship with her, giving me all the confidence. I have been on her since before she ever ran. We have been able to develop a good relationship. Like I said, she gives me so much confidence. She's a big, strong, beautiful filly."
Left: Pretty Mischievous in the post parade. Gaffalione added, "When the race was drawn, Brendan and I spoke. We didn't see any problem with it. She's a big, long striding filly, so we were able to let her get into a good rhythm going into that first turn. Didn't have to worry about traffic, getting bounced around. It was pretty ideal, to be honest. The track has been very fair the past week or so, especially today. On the main course earlier in the day, I came from last up the fence. The rail was good. This race, I was four wide most of the way. It seemed pretty fair and pretty level."
Right: Pretty Mischievous races in fifth first time by. Banahan added, "That was probably one of the best learning experiences she got, because after that she has done everything Brendan has asked her to do in every race. At the last day, we felt at the top of the stretch we had the race won, and she was just going to stride away from it. Didn't quite work out. But I think different circumstances, I think we would have seen a different result that day."
Left: Second place finisher Gambling Girl in the post parade. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. said, "She ran great. I had no excuses. We just missed. Two more jumps and we would have got it." Trainer Todd Pletcher added, "She had a really good trip. (Ortiz) saved ground most of the way, angled out and she put in a great run."
Right: Third place finisher The Alys Look walks over before the race. Jockey Javier Castellano said, "I had a beautiful trip. I liked the way my horse ran. I sat behind the speed and saved all the ground on the first turn and then set up two-three wide on the backside. I travelled nice and comfortable. Turning for home, I thought I had a chance to win. She was a good third place today. She deserved it." Trainer Brad Cox added, "The Alys Look stayed on and ran really well. She got a good trip up the backside and was relatively close. Looks like you want to be close on this racetrack."
Left: Fourth place finisher and beaten favorite Wet Paint in the post parade. Jockey Flavien Prat said, "I got a good trip. It set up good for me. The track isn't as fast as Oaklawn and I think she was struggling on a bit on it. She made a move but not as good as at Oaklawn." Trainer Brad Cox added, Flavien (Prat) said Wet Paint was traveling fine. He said when he cut her loose she wasn't handling the track real well. She finished up off class and off heart. But, probably not her favorite surface. She was struggling with it. A very good filly won it. We had fillies finish third and fourth. They showed up to run."
Right: The fillies break from the gate for the Kentucky Oaks. Jockey Florent Geroux aboard pacesetter Flying Connection (post 10) said, "I stayed clean on the lead. She broke well but just couldn't keep going and hold off the other fillies in the end." Trainer Todd Fincher added, "She showed her guts. It was a very quick pace with pressure the entire way. Turning for home she continued to fight hard, but the pace took a toll on her. I'm very proud of her."
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