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Record All-Sources Wagering for 138th Kentucky Oaks
A history-making 138th running of the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) at Churchill Downs Racetrack on Friday, May 4, concluded with record total wagering, near-record attendance of 112,552 and an historic victory by jockey Rosie Napravnik, who rode Brereton C. Jones’s Believe You Can to victory to become the first woman to win America’s premier race for 3-year-old fillies.
The Kentucky Oaks theme of “Ladies First” proved prophetic for Napravnik, a 24-year-old native of Mendham, N.J., who had narrowly missed winning the Oaks a year ago when she finished a close second to Plum Pretty aboard St. John’s River.
A mid-afternoon threat of severe weather at the historic track prompted Churchill Downs officials to order a temporary evacuation of the track’s infield with three races – including the featured event – remaining on the 12-race Kentucky Oaks program. The heaviest of the storms that had prompted the precautionary evacuation missed the track and racing resumed after a 52-minute weather delay.
Despite the storm, wagering from all sources on the full 12-race Kentucky Oaks Day race card totaled $39.9 million, an increase of 6.5 percent from the 2011 total of $37.5 million. All-sources wagering on the Kentucky Oaks race rose 3.4 percent to $11.8 million. On-track wagering on the Oaks Day program dropped 3.7 percent to $11.6 million and wagering on the Oaks race fell 12.8 percent to $2.6 million.
“We had a successful and historic Kentucky Oaks Day with record total wagering, near-record on-track attendance and the historic victory by jockey Rosie Napravnik, who is truly one of our sport’s rising stars,” said Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs Racetrack. “We congratulate Ms. Napravnik and thank racing fans across North America for their support of the Kentucky Oaks program. We also appreciate the calm response by our infield fans when they were asked to temporarily leave that area of our track as a precaution because of the threat of strong weather.”
The 2012 Kentucky Oaks, viewed by a national television audience on the NBC Sports Network, continued the event’s focus on women’s health issues and raised more than $112,000 for new fundraising partner Stand Up to Cancer. An emotional highlight of the day was the inspirational Survivors Parade presented by Kroger, which was held for the fourth time and featured survivors of all kinds of cancer in an on-track parade prior to the day’s marquee racing event.
The day also continued a four-year fundraising partnership with Horses and Hope, a breast cancer outreach program in Kentucky’s horse industry championed by Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear. Churchill Downs has raised nearly $100,000 for Horses and Hope during the first three years of that partnership and will donate $1 from each Friday sale of the Oaks Lily, the official drink of the Kentucky Oaks, to that initiative.
Believe You Can, owned and bred by former Kentucky Gov. Brereton Jones, won by three-quarters of a length over Broadway’s Alibi. Favored Grace Hall finished third in the field of 14 3-year-old fillies. The winner went off at odds of 13-1 and paid $29.60 for a $2 win wager. The daughter of Proud Citizen is the second Kentucky Oaks winner for both owner-breeder Jones, and trainer J. Larry Jones. The Joneses had teamed to win the 2008 Kentucky Oaks with Proud Spell.
The winner covered 1 1/8 miles over a fast track in 1:49.50 and won for the sixth time in nine career races. The first-place purse of $564,200 lifted her career earnings to $1,059,484.
ABOUT STAND UP TO CANCER (SU2C)
Stand Up To Cancer becomes only the second charitable initiative for the Kentucky Oaks since many of those traditions were first introduced in 2009. The Stand Up To Cancer initiative raises funds to accelerate groundbreaking cancer research that will deliver new therapies to patients quickly and save lives through a collaborative effort throughout the cancer research community. The organization’s goal in accelerating cancer research is to help transform the disease from one that takes far too many lives to a disease that people survive.
ABOUT CHURCHILL DOWNS INCORPORATED
Churchill Downs Incorporated (“CDI”) (NASDAQ: CHDN), headquartered in Louisville, Ky., owns and operates the world-renowned Churchill Downs Racetrack, home of the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks, as well as racetrack and casino operations and a poker room in Miami Gardens, Fla.; racetrack, casino and video poker operations in New Orleans, La.; racetrack operations in Arlington Heights, Ill.; and a casino resort in Greenville, Miss. CDI also owns the country's premier account-wagering company, TwinSpires.com, and other advance-deposit wagering providers; the totalizator company, United Tote; Bluff Media, an Atlanta-based multimedia poker content, brand and publishing company; and a collection of racing-related telecommunications and data companies. Information about CDI can be found online at www.churchilldownsincorporated.com.