Jill Baffert’s Contested swept past Good Deed in upper stretch and romped to a 4 ¾-length victory in stakes record time to win the 57th running of the $110,000 Eight Belles Presented by Xerox (Grade III) for 3-year-old fillies on Friday afternoon at Churchill Downs.
Contested, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Ghostzapper out of the Arch mare Gold Vault, ran the seven furlongs on a fast main track in 1:21.19. The previous stakes record was established by Roxelana (1:21.97) in 2000.
William S. and Graydon Patterson’s Juanita ran past 2-5 favorite Plum Pretty at the head the stretch and then held off St. John’s River by two lengths to win the 27th running of the $327,000 La Troienne Presented by Steelcase and ORI (Grade II) for fillies and mares Friday afternoon.
BELIEVE YOU CAN – Brereton Jones’ homebred Kentucky Oaks heroine Believe You Can came out of the race in great shape, trainer Larry Jones said while accepting congratulations at his barn early on Kentucky Derby Day.
“Boy, she’s wanting treats and she thinks she deserves some reward!” Jones said as his filly poked her head out of her stall. “She gets all kind of peppermints, carrots, sweet potatoes, you name it. Whatever she wants she’s pretty well going to get.
AMIE’S DINI – While she may be a blue-collar $3,000 sales purchase, Oaks contender Amie’s Dini is a bit of a princess. Following today’s 1 ½ mile gallop, the Ron Moquett trainee hit the spa and was bedded down for breakfast.
“She really enjoys the spa,” Moquett said. “Actually, she likes all the finer things, the spa, the respiratory treatments, the massages. She likes all the things a lady likes.”
Jon Court will have the mount in Friday’s Oaks from post 13.
AMIE’S DINI – Co-owner Mike Walker said the Fantasy Stakes (GII) runner-up Amie’s Dini had an easy jog this morning after the renovation break and will school in the paddock during Thursday’s program at Churchill Downs. The $3,000 sales purchase drew post 13 of 14 for the Oaks.
The Fantasy Stakes (GII) runner-up Amie’s Dini galloped 1 ½ miles this morning for trainer Ron Moquett, the third trainer who has been part of the filly’s development. She began her career with Bernell Rhone in Oklahoma last fall and was conditioned by Kellyn Gorder in her first Churchill attempt in October.
“I was happy to get her in our barn and she keeps improving,” Moquett said. “All the guys who trained her before me had a hand in her being what she is today. I give them credit, too.”
The $3,000 rags-to-riches story of the 2012 Oaks lineup Amie’s Dini jogged a mile and galloped 1 3/8 miles this morning after the renovation break following a day off Sunday. Arkansas-based trainer Ron Moquett said the morning’s warmer temperatures were right up their alley.
"We’re from the South,” he joked. “We live for the heat.”
Co-owner Mike Walker was on hand this morning to watch his star filly and noted, “This filly has been a real thrill. Up to this point, she really hasn’t been pushed on at all.”
The Martha Washington winner Amie’s Dini walked the shedrow today following Saturday’s five-furlong workout in 1:05.40. “Full speed ahead now,” trainer Ron Moquett said now that her serious training is complete. “It’s our job to keep her happy between now and Friday.”
Moquett orchestrated a 96-1 upset in the 2006 Stephen Foster (GI) at Churchill Downs with Seek Gold, and appreciates the chance to be back in the limelight.