Stephanie's Kitten came flying late to collar pacesetter Stopshoppingmaria in deep stretch and surged to a three-quarter length victory in Friday's $909,000 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Churchill Downs. Winner of the Grade 1 Alcibiades Stakes on Keeneland's Polytrack in her previous start, the Ken and Sarah Ramsey homebred was ridden by John Velazquez.
Anita Cauley's homebred On Fire Baby rallied from just off a frenetic pace to capture Sunday's Grade 2, $173,400 Pocahontas Stakes at Churchill Downs. Fifth in the Grade 1 Alcibiades on Keeneland's Polytrack last time out, the 9-1 chance thrived on the return to dirt, and the cut-back to one turn. Joe Johnson launched a well-timed move aboard the Gary Hartlage pupil, who held off the late charge of And Why Not by three-quarters of a length.
Stonestreet Stable and George Bolton's My Miss Aurelia moved her record to a perfect three-for-three on Saturday when capturing the Grade 1, $300,000 Frizette Stakes at Belmont Park. The Steve Asmussen trainee ran one mile on the Polytrack in a swift 1:35 1/5 and gave jockey Corey Nakatani his sixth victory on the card, tying the single-day win record at Big Sandy.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey's homebred Stephanie's Kitten came motoring down the middle of the track to take Friday's Grade 1, $400,000 Alcibiades Stakes on Keeneland's opening day. The bay lass was sent off at 9-1 in the full field and completed 1 1/16 miles on the Polytrack in 1:43 under jockey John Velazquez.
Weemissfrankie continued the fairytale ride for her connections on Sunday when gutting out a half-length victory in the Grade 1, $250,000 Oak Leaf Stakes at Santa Anita Park. Campaigned by Sharon Alesia, Bran Jam Stables, Ciaglia Racing, Rob Dyrdek and Nick Cosato, the juvenile miss was named after Sharon's late husband, Frank Alesia, the entertainment personality and longtime horse owner.
Brereton C. Jones' homebred Believe You Can tracked the early pace in Sunday's $98,000 Tempted Stakes at Belmont Park before moving up to take command in the stretch and pulling out the 2 1/2-length score. This win allowed trainer Larry Jones to visit the winner's circle for the second day in a row after saddling Havre de Grace to victory in Saturday's Grade 1 Beldame Stakes.
Flying Zee Stables' Pure Gossip has a knack for making headlines at big odds. The Philip Serpe trainee scored at 37-1 in her career debut at Saratoga, in the New York-bred fillies' maiden named in honor of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Again overlooked at 23-1 when trying turf for the first time in Sunday's Grade 3, $100,000 Miss Grillo at Belmont Park, Pure Gossip rocketed from just off the pace to win impressively by 6 1/2 lengths.
From a purely mathematical standpoint, owner John Oxley and trainer Mark Casse had a one-in-four chance of winning Saturday's $240,345 Natalma S. (Can-G3) for juvenile fillies at Woodbine as three of the 12 entrants adorned Oxley's classic-winning gray and yellow silks.
Frank Fletcher's ROCKET TWENTYONE (Indian Charlie) rallied past pacesetter Essence of Bubbles (Essence of Dubai) in deep stretch and recorded a half-length victory in Saturday's $100,000 Arlington-Washington Lassie S. (G3), posting a 16-1 upset in the one-mile event for two-year-old fillies.
A 6 1/2-length debut winner at Prairie Meadows on August 12, the dark bay filly went dirt-to-Polytrack successfully for trainer W.T. Howard, stopping the teletimer in 1:39 with jockey Eusebio Razo Jr.
Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stables LLC and Stuart Grant's GRACE HALL (Empire Maker) was content to stalk the early pace in Sunday's $250,000 Spinaway S. (G1) at Saratoga before putting in a game run down the center of the track to score by 1 3/4 lengths under jockey Ramon Dominguez. The Tony Dutrow trainee reeled in 2-1 favorite Judy the Beauty (Ghostzapper) in the final yards and went on to finish seven furlongs on the fast dirt in 1:23 3/5.
WEEMISSFRANKIE (Sunriver) created a big enough impression in her career debut to garner 2-1 favoritism in Saturday's $250,000 Del Mar Debutante S. (G1), and the Peter Eurton pupil lived up to her tall reputation with a 1 1/4-length victory. Swinging wide off the far turn for Rafael Bejarano, Weemissfrankie blew by her rivals to assume leadership of the West Coast's two-year-old fillies.
The official event logos for Kentucky Derby 138 and Kentucky Oaks 138 were released Monday (Aug. 29) by Churchill Downs, and officially licensed apparel and gift items featuring the new marks are now available for purchase online at www.KentuckyDerbyStore.com.
John Liviakis' homebred MIGHTY CAROLINE (Stormy Atlantic) overhauled pacesetter River Kiss (Awesome Gambler) in midstretch and drew clear to a 1 1/4-length victory in Friday's $150,000 Sorrento S. (G3) at Del Mar. Joel Rosario had the mount for trainer Melody Conlon, and the two-year-old gray filly completed 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15 3/5 on the Polytrack.
In a hard-fought stretch duel, George Bolton and Stonestreet Stables' MY MISS AURELIA (Smart Strike) was able to hold off Matron S. (G2) winner Millionreasonswhy (Grand Slam) by a mere neck in the $150,000 Adirondack S. (G2) at Saratoga Sunday. Guided by Julien Leparoux, the Steve Asmussen trainee stopped the clock in 1:17 in the 6 1/2-furlong battle on the fast track, making her a perfect two-for-two following her successful debut at the Spa.
Trainer Todd Pletcher has another good-looking juvenile to have fun with at Saratoga this summer. The filly GEORGIE'S ANGEL (Bellamy Road) was a prompt 4-5 winner of the $100,000 Schuylerville S. (G3) at Saratoga on Friday, the opening day of the Spa's 40-day meet.
Sagamore Farm's MILLIONREASONSWHY (Grand Slam) went three wide into the stretch of Sunday's $150,000 Matron S. (G2) at Belmont Park and pulled off to secure the two-length victory under jockey John Velazquez.
Barry L. King's FLASHY LASSIE (Flashy Bull) registered an upset in Saturday's $109,300 Debutante S. (G3) at Churchill Downs, rallying from far back to win as the 17-1 longest shot among seven two-year-old fillies. A smart nine-length debut winner over $20,000 maiden claimers on May 13, the Gary Simms-trained filly remained unbeaten while taking the steep class hike, receiving a picture-perfect ride from jockey Kent Desormeaux.
PLUM PRETTY – Assistant trainer Jim Barnes reported that Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty came back “super good” from her impressive score in Friday’s $1 million Kentucky Oaks. The Medaglia d’Oro filly got a perfect trip for rider Martin Garcia, fired well clear at the head of the lane, then had enough in the tank to hold off the fast-closing St. John’s River by a neck.
Future plans for Plum Pretty – who picked up a first prize of $570,400 after covering nine furlongs in 1:49.50 – had yet to be made.
A crowd of 110,122, the third-highest Kentucky Oaks attendance in history, gathered under sunny spring skies at Churchill Downs to witness Plum Pretty capture the 137th running of the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (Grade I), America’s premier race for 3-year-old fillies.