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. Five graded stakes races were contested over the fast main track and firm turf course on the Oaks undercard. Most of the day was sunny with occasional clouds and temperatures in the mid-80's, but shortly after 4pm a thunderstorm came through and caused nearly a one hour delay and evacuation of the infield.
Kicking off the stakes action on Oaks day is the $300,000 La Troienne Stakes (G2) for older fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) winner Plum Pretty was sent off as the 2-5 favorite in the field of 7 over 6-1 St. John's River and 7-1 Absinthe Minded. Jockey Rafael Bejarano sent Plum Pretty to the lead and she set fractions of 24.39, 48.36, and 1:11.74 while stalked by 16-1 Juanita a length back. Entering the stretch, Juanita moved up and took the lead to win by 2 lengths over late-running St. John's River in 1:42.82. It was another length back to favorite Plum Pretty third.
Left: Juanita circles before going to the winner's circle. Jockey Ramon Dominguez said, "The favorite went to the lead and I was happy to sit right next to her. When we got to the half-mile pole I was feeling pretty good just by looking at Plum Pretty and seeing that she was already being encouraged a little bit. At that point I felt like I had more horse than her, just visually, looking at her and how mine felt."
Right: Juanita heads back to the barn.
Contested wins the Eight Belles Stakes (G3)
The $100,000 Eight Belles Stakes (G3) featured a field of 8 three-year-old fillies sprinting 7 furlongs on the main track. Contested, winner of her last two starts both at Santa Anita, was sent off as the 11-10 favorite in her stakes debut, over 3-1 Good Deed and 9-2 Small Kitchen. Jockey Corey Lanerie sent Good Deed to the front exiting the chute and she set fractions of 22.13 and 44.37 while stalked by Contested. At the 3/16 pole Contested easily ran past the pacesetter, and drew off to win by 4 3/4 lengths in 1:21.29. It was another 6 1/4 lengths from Good Deed to late-running 21-1 Always Here Too third.
Left: Contested in the winner's circle. She set a new stakes record of 1:21.19. The previous stakes record was established by Roxelana (1:21.97) in 2000.
Right: Martin Garcia celebrates aboard Contested. Garcia said, "I knew I had a lot speed with my horse, and I was in perfect position. I was on the outside and that gave me a lot of big chances to do good things when I asked her run. That's what she did. I asked her and she really ran away from them."
Stephanie's Kitten wins the Edgewood Stakes
The $100,000 Edgewood Stakes featured a field of 12 three-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Breeders' Cup Juvenile Filies Turf (G1) winner Stephanie's Kitten was sent off as the even-money favorite over 9-2 Dame Marie and 8-1 Run a Risk. 13-1 Welcome Dance set early fractions of 23.81, 47.36, and 1:11.10 while stalked by 23-1 June Cleaver. On the far turn, Stephanie's Kitten came through to take over the lead, and drew off to win by 2 lengths over late-running 27-1 Firehouse Red in a stakes record time of 1:40.94. It was another 1 3/4 lengths back to pacesetter Welcome Dance third.
Left: Stephanie's Kitten in the winner's circle with owner Ken Ramsey.
Right: Stephanie's Kitten is paraded after her win. Trainer Wayne Catalano said, ďThatís (Royal Ascot) been the plan the whole time. So far itís been working for us. When you are the favorite, you always expect to run good but it doesn't always happen. We thought she was going to run well today and she came into the race just as you want one to do."
Successful Dan wins the Alysheba Stakes (G3)
The $300,000 Alysheba Stakes (G3) featured older horses going 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) winner Mucho Macho Man was sent off as the 8-5 favorite in the field of 8 over 5-2 Nates Mineshaft and 4-1 Successful Dan. 33-1 longest shot Plutonium led for the first 5/8 through fractions of 23.47 and 47.02 before 5-1 Fort Lamed took over on the turn through 3/4 in 1:10.46. Successful Fan, 6th early, closed late to win by a length in a new track record 1:41.04. It was a long 6 lengths back to favorite Mucho Macho Man third.
Left: Successful Dan in the winner's circle. Successful Dan ran the 1 1/16 miles on a fast main track in 1:41.04 to break the track record of 1:41.27 established by Brass Hat on July 8, 2007 and shattered the stakes record of 1:42.32 established by Limehouse in 2005.
Right: Successful Dan returns after the race. Jockey Julien Leparoux said, "This is one of the best horses I've ridden so far in my career [seven wins and a second in eight rides]. He's a beautiful horse and he has a great kick. I got him in a good place early and he relaxed really nice. When I asked him to run he gave me a great run down the stretch."
Silver Max wins the American Turf (G2)
The $200,000 American Turf Stakes (G2) featured a field of thirteen 3-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Gung Ho, third in the Blue Grass (G1) last out, was sent off as the 7-2 favorite over 4-1 Howe Great and 5-1 Silver Max. Jockey Rafael Bejarano sent Silver Max to the lead first time past the stands and he set fractions of 23.12, 46.60, and 1:10.69 while stalked by 10-1 Blueskiesnrainbows. Entering the lane, Silver Max opened up a 3 length lead and finished 2 3/4 lengths in front of 24-1 Travel Advisory in 1:41.10. It was another 3/4 length back to Howe Great third, while favorite Gung Ho checked in 7th beaten 6 1/2 lengths.
Left: Silver Max in the winner's circle. Jockey Rafael Bejarano said, "My horse was much the best in the race. He got to the lead pretty easy and he showed me a really big kick in the stretch." On the delay: "I wasn't concerned about the rain on the course. I know he has run on an off turf course in the past so I wasn't worried about it."
Right: Silver Max circles before going to the winner's circle. Trainer Dale Romans said, "Every once in a while you get those horses that can do it consistently win on the front end over the turf), and I can two of them - Little Mike and him - and they just seem to get stronger as the race goes on. It is a rare quality."
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.