The Jones boys struck again in the Kentucky Oaks.
Owner-breeder Brereton Jones and trainer Larry Jones (no relation) combined to win their Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) when Lovely Maria charged to a 2 ¾-length victory over Shook Up to win the 141st running of the $1 million race for 3-year-old fillies before a record Oaks Day crowd of 123,763 on a mild, sunny afternoon.
It was a record-breaking 141st running of the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) at Churchill Downs Racetrack which culminated as 123,763 fans, the highest attendance of all time, watched a memorable win by Lovely Maria. The prior attendance record was 116,046, set in 2010, during the 136th running of the Kentucky Oaks.
Larry Jones, trainer of Lovely Maria (winner)/I’m a Chatterbox (third) – “She did good. She sure did. Very similar going into the Keeneland race. She's a filly just doing good. She worked so well here. I knew she didn't have to carry her track with her. Chatterbox came closing. 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.''
Kerwin Clark, jockey of Lovely Maria, winner – “I’ve been riding for 40 years and I won my first Grade I last month at Keeneland (in the Ashland) with this horse. Then we won this race today. I am very blessed. Blessed to have this horse; to have (trainer) Larry Jones in my life and believing in me, and to have Mr. (Brereton) Jones believe in me and stick with me.”
Robert Luttrell’s homebred Promise Me Silver kept her record perfect with an eighth straight victory in taking the 60th running of the $200,000 Eight Belles (GIII) Presented by Twinspires.com for 3-year-old fillies.
Lovely Maria (Majesticperfection) played second fiddle to stablemate I’m a Chatterbox (Munnings) all winter long, but trainer Larry Jones kept reporting that the bay lass was improving every day.
On Friday, the three-year-old miss lived up to her conditioner’s faith when taking the 141st running of the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs under jockey Kerwin Clark.
James Covello, AJ Suited Racing Stable and trainer Brian Lynch’s Power Alert (AUS) took the lead shortly after the start and then held off a late bid from Undrafted to win 21strunning of the $150,000 Twin Spires Turf Sprint (GIII) Presented by Twinspires.com by three-quarters of a length.