Awesome Baby, a wire-to-wire winner of the Santa Ynez and Santa Ysabel at Santa Anita this season, will be heavily favored to give Bob Baffert his fourth consecutive win in Sunday's $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks and his sixth over the past eight years.
Churchill Downs donates $50,000 to kick-off Pink Out fundraiser
LOUISVILLE, KY (Tuesday, March 18, 2014) – Churchill Downs Racetrack today announced the opening of public nominations and voting for participants in the 2014 Survivors Parade Presented by Kroger, and a new partnership with Bright Pink®, a national organization that focuses on the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer and while providing support for high-risk individuals.
Unbeaten three-year-old filly Onlyforyou was euthanized on Saturday after suffering multiple fractures while galloping out from a workout at Palm Meadows Training Center. She was timed in 1:02 for five furlongs over the fast dirt prior to the tragic incident.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Thank You Marylou swept past Whomping Willow and 2-5 favorite Sweet Whiskey to return a convincing winner in Sunday's $75,000 Any Limit Stakes at Gulfstream Park. Unraced since placing in a roughly-run Adirondack at Saratoga last August, the Mike Maker filly showed no rust as she drew off by 2 1/2 lengths.
Charles Fipke's Unbridled Forever, who emerged as the 8-1 third choice in the wagering when the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager closed earlier this month, breezed six furlongs Saturday morning in 1:12 2/5 in preparation for the upcoming Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks on Louisiana Derby Day March 29 at Fair Grounds.
Euphrosyne finished second in Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Honeybee at Oaklawn Park, but was presented with the win following the disqualification of Sugar Shock by the stewards. Sent off the 8-1 fourth choice, the bay daughter of Harlan's Holiday paid $19.20 with jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. in the irons.
Sweet Reason, a dominating winner of the Spinaway at Saratoga last summer, made a successful sophomore debut at Aqueduct Friday, taking a $67,620 nonwinners-of-three allowance for three-year-old fillies by a half-length.
The first of five Grade 1 stakes held during Keeneland's Spring Meet is the $500,000 Ashland, and a total of 133 sophomore fillies have been nominated to the April 5 feature. Contested at 1 1/16 miles, the Ashland historically showcases classic-bound fillies, with the winner earning 100 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks.
Please Explain and Taris will face off Saturday as part of an 11-filly field entered in the Grade 3, $150,000 Honeybee at Oaklawn Park. The 1 1/16-mile contest is the final steppingstone to the Grade 3, $400,000 Fantasy on April 5, and is also worth 50 points to the winner toward a berth in the Kentucky Oaks starting gate on May 2 at Churchill Downs.
A 9 1/2-length romp by Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Untapable (#23) in last week’s Rachel Alexandra (Grade III) at Fair Grounds made her a rising star on the road to the 140th running of the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI), and the authority of that victory left such a strong impression that the daughter of Tapit closed as the narrow overall favorite among 24 wagering interests in Churchill Downs’ 2014 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (“KOFW”).
The Steve Asmussen-trained Untapable, who also won September’s Pocahontas (GII) at Churchill Downs and is unbeaten in two starts over the Kentucky Oaks track, edged the always popular Mutuel Field, or “All Others” (#24), to be the 5-1 favorite when wagering in the three-day Kentucky Oaks Future pool concluded at 4:45 p.m. (all times Eastern) on Saturday.
The “All Others” bet, which includes all 3-year-old fillies other than the 23 individual wagering interests in the Kentucky Oaks Future Pool, also closed at 5-1, but slightly more was wagered on Untapable to make the Asmussen filly the overall bettor’s choice. Should Untapable win the Oaks, she would return $12 for a $2 wager, while the Mutuel Field would return $13.60 if one of its members won the race on Friday, May 2, the eve of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) at Churchill Downs.
Several other fillies attracted strong support in the 2014 Kentucky Oaks Future Pool, which opened its wagering at noon on Thursday, Feb. 27. Chief among them was the Charles Fipke’s Unbridled Forever (#22, 8-1), winner of the Silverbulletday at Fair Grounds last time out for trainer Dallas Stewart. Stewart also trained the filly’s dam, Lemons Forever, who scored the biggest upset in the history of the Kentucky Oaks when she won its 2006 renewal at odds of 47-1. The Todd Pletcher-trained Onlyforyou (#12, 9-1), winner of the recent Davona Dale (GII) at Gulfstream Park to remain unbeaten in four career races, was the pool’s overall fourth choice at the close of wagering.
Also drawing solid support in the KOFW pool were Dame Dorothy (#6, 13-1), unbeaten in two starts for Pletcher and her owner, celebrity chef Bobby Flay; Ria Antonia (#15, 14-1), winner via disqualification of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) and now trained by two-time Kentucky Oaks winner Bob Baffert; She’s a Tiger (#18, 15-1), the champion 2-year-old filly of 2013 despite a disqualification from first to second in the Breeders’ Cup race and winner of the Del Mar Debutante for trainer Jeff Bonde; and Spinaway (GI) winner Sweet Reason (#20, 17-1), fourth as the favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI).
Wagering during the three-day KOFW pool totaled $81,234, which included $54,571 in win bets and $26,662 in exacta wagers.
The Kentucky Oaks Future Wager provides racing fans the opportunity to wager on candidates for the Kentucky Oaks well in advance of America’s premier race for 2-year-old fillies at odds that could be much more attractive than those available on the day of the race. It is a $2 minimum win wager and also provides exacta betting. Exactas are also $2 minimum bets, but can also be made in $1 increments in boxes, wheels and part-wheel combinations if the wager totals at least $2. Winning payouts in the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager are determined by the odds that were in place at the conclusion of betting in the pool.
Kaleem Shah Inc.'s Awesome Baby has proven to be a horse of a different color this season, wiring the Santa Ynez in her three-year-old debut on January 4 and duplicating that effort Saturday with a 2 3/4-length victory in the Grade 3, $100,000 Santa Ysabel at Santa Anita Park.
The names of 121 3-year-old fillies – including 17 from the sprawling stable of six-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher – are included on the roster of nominees to compete in the $1 million-guaranteed Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade I), America’s premier race for 3-year-old fillies scheduled to be run for the 140th consecutive year at Churchill Downs on Friday, May 2.
The 1 1/8-mile sister race to the $2 million-guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum Brands! (GI) has, like the Derby, been run annually without interruption since those events made their respective debuts at the track then known as the Louisville Jockey Club in 1875. The Longines Kentucky Oaks is traditionally run on the eve of the Kentucky Derby and its 2014 renewal will be televised live on the NBC Sports Network.
Pletcher has saddled three winners of the Kentucky Oaks, a group that includes champions Ashado and Rags to Riches and King of Prussia Stable’s 2013 winner Princess of Sylmar. The Pletcher-trained array of 2014 early Oaks nominees is headed by Glencrest Farm LLC’s unbeaten Onlyforyou, a daughter of Malibu Moon who counts Gulfstream Park’s Davona Dale (GII) and Forward Gal (GII) among her four career triumphs.
Other Pletcher trainees on the roster of Kentucky Oaks nominees include Alto Racing’s Sweet Whiskey, winner of Gulfstream Park’s Old Hat; unbeaten Dame Dorothy and Busanda winner Fierce Boots, both owned by celebrity chef Bobby Flay; Repole Stable’s Stopcharginmaria and Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings and Philip Steinberg’s Got Lucky, the 1-2 finishers in Aqueduct’s Demoiselle (GII); and Repole’s Our Amazing Rose, a romping winner in her lone start last fall at Saratoga.
Outside of Pletcher’s universe, the roster of Oaks nominees features the most accomplished members of this year’s crop of 3-year-old fillies. Heading that list is Mark Dedomenico, Allen Aldrich, Lisa Hernandez, Stuart Downeyand Philip Lebherz’s She’s a Tiger. The Jeff Bonde trainee was the champion 2-year-old filly of 2013, winner of the Del Mar Debutante (GI) and runner-up in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) at Santa Anita. In the latter, She’s a Tiger finished first, but was demoted to runner-up when stewards disqualified her for interference in the homestretch.
Other marquee names among the nominees include Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC’s Untapable, the Steve Asmussen-trained winner of the Rachel Alexandra (GIII) at Fair Grounds and the Pocahontas (GII) at Churchill Downs; Christopher Dunn and Loooch Racing Stable’s Ria Antonia, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner now trained by two-time Kentucky Oaks winner Bob Baffert; Arnold Zetcher and Michael Tabor’s Fashion Plate, the front-running winner of Santa Anita’s Las Virgenes (GI) for trainer Simon Callaghan; and Charles Fipke’s homebred Unbridled Forever, winner of the Silverbulletday at Fair Grounds and the daughter of Lemons Forever, who won the 2006 Kentucky Oaks at odds of 47-1 in the biggest upset in the history of the race. Dallas Stewart trains Unbridled Forever and was the trainer and co-owner of her dam.
Other accomplished early nominees include Spinaway (GI) winner Sweet Reason, who finished fourth for trainer Leah Gyarmati as the favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies; Rosalind, runner-up in Keeneland’s Alcibiades (GI) and third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies; Please Explain, winner of the Suncoast at Tampa Bay Downs; Bird Maker, runner-up in Churchill Downs’ Golden Rod (GII); Alcibiades winner My Conquestadory; Santa Ynez (GII) winner Awesome Baby; Davona Dale runner-up House Rules; Aragorn Ami, winner of Oaklawn Park’s Martha Washington; Delta Princess (GIII) winner Tepin; and Fiftyshadesofgold, winner of the Two Altazano at Sam Houston.
The 2013 running of the Longines Kentucky Oaks attracted 120 early nominations.
The Oaks field is limited to 14 starters and up to four fillies designated as “also-eligible” to start. Eligibility to compete in the Oaks is determined by points amassed during the “Road to the Kentucky Oaks” system, which determines the eligibility of nominees to compete in the race. If one of more horses should scratch from the Longines Kentucky Oaks by 9 a.m. (Eastern) on the morning of the race, fillies from the “also-eligible” list with the highest respective point totals would be allowed to compete.
Although Princess of Sylmar won the 2013 Longines Kentucky Oaks, it was runner-up Beholder who earned the Eclipse Award presented to the nation’s champion 3-year-old filly at year’s end. Beholder was the 17th Kentucky Oaks winner or participant since 1972 to be named champion of her division. Blind Luck won the 2010 Kentucky Oaks to conclude a string of four consecutive Kentucky Oaks winner to earn championship honors. The others were Rachel Alexandra (2009), Proud Spell (2008) and Rags to Riches (2007). Rachel Alexandra and Rags to Riches defeated males in Triple Crown races in their subsequent starts, with the former defeating Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird in the Preakness (GI) on her way to Horse of the Year honors, and Rags to Riches edged eventual two-time Horse of the Year Curlin in a dramatic renewal of the Belmont Stakes (GI).
Other Kentucky Oaks winners named as 3-year-old filly champions include Ashado (2004), Bird Town (’03), Farda Amiga (’02), Silverbulletday (’99), Open Mind (’89), Tiffany Lass (’86), Davona Dale (’79) and Susan’s Girl (’72). Fillies that failed to win the Oaks but were named divisional champions include Wait a While (3rd in ’06), Banshee Breeze (2nd in ’98), Go for Wand (2nd in ’90) and Wayward Lass (3rd in ’81). Believe You Can, winner of the 2012 Oaks, and 2011 winner Plum Pretty were among three Eclipse Award finalists in their respective 3-year-old seasons.
A late nomination period for Longines Kentucky Oaks 140 is underway through Wednesday, April 9. A nomination of any 3-year-old filly to the Oaks during the late nomination phase will require payment of a $1,500 fee. A final opportunity to make a filly eligible for the Kentucky Oaks is available through the race’s supplemental nomination process. That process requires payment of $30,000 fee at the time of entry to the 2014 Longines Kentucky Oaks on Tuesday, April 29.
Godolphin's Ihtimal, a dominant winner of the February 6 U.A.E. One Thousand Guineas, turned the classic double by an even more emphatic margin in Thursday's Group 3, $250,000 U.A.E. Oaks at Meydan. Asserting her superiority at the top of the stretch, the Saeed bin Suroor pupil widened her advantage to a record 10 lengths at the wire.
Awesome Baby, a gate-to-wire winner of the Grade 2 Santa Ynez going 6 1/2 furlongs on January 4, heads a field of eight three-year-old fillies entered in Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Santa Ysabel at 1 1/16 miles Saturday at Santa Anita.
Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Untapable (#23) has turned a dazzling romp in last Saturday’s Grade III Rachel Alexandra at Fair Grounds into status as the co-favorite with the always popular Mutuel Field (#24), or “All Others”, for Churchill Downs Racetrack’s only 2014 pool of the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (“KOFW”), which opens its three-day run on Thursday, Feb. 27.
Winchell Thoroughbreds' Untapable looked like a winner as soon as the field of sophomore fillies entered the stretch in Saturday's Grade 3 Rachel Alexandra, and all the Steve Asmussen pupil did the rest of the way was increase her advantage.
Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC's Untapable threw in a subpar eighth two starts back in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, then finished a one-paced third in the Hollywood Starlet over Hollywood Park's Cushion Track on December 7.
Owners and trainers of horses being pointed toward the 140th running of the $1 million-guaranteed Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) on Friday, May 2 at Churchill Downs Racetrack (“CDRT”) face an early nomination deadline of Saturday, Feb. 22 to make their horses eligible to compete in the 2014 renewal America’s premier race for 3-year-old fillies scheduled for Friday, May 2.