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.
JOHN VELAZQUEZ (Broadway’s Alibi, second) – “I think she handled the track OK but the first time over a track, she paddles a lot. She lost some momentum. The ground broke away from her. I don’t think the distance hurt her, I think the track didn’t help. She still ran a huge race.”
JAVIER CASTELLANO (Grace Hall, third) – “The track was playing for speed today. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for me. They didn’t come back to me. I was third best today.”
ROSIE NAPRAVNIK (Jockey) – "It's unbelievable. I'm just so happy and so grateful to be here. There's a lot of people that are a big part of me getting to this and winning this race and I just can't thank everybody enough. "I cried a little but I don't think I'm done crying yet. "Dream trip, absolutely.
Mark Bacon and Dana Wells’ Silver Max went to the front early and never was threatened in winning the 21st running of the $238,200 American Turf Presented by RAM (Grade II) by 2 ¾ lengths over Travel Advisory on Friday afternoon at Churchill Downs.
Ridden by Rafael Bejarano and trained by Dale Romans, Silver Max won his third consecutive race on turf, including a score in the Transylvania (GIII) last month at Keeneland.
Morton Fink’s Successful Dan wore down Fort Larned in deep stretch to win the ninth running of the $337,800 Alysheba Presented by Besilu Stables (Grade II) by a length in track record time Friday afternoon at Churchill Downs.
Successful Dan ran the 1 1/16 miles on a fast main track in 1:41.04 to break the track record of 1:41.27 established by Brass Hat on July 8, 2007 and shattered the stakes record of 1:42.32 established by Limehouse in 2005.
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.
Mike Walker and Lou Sutterfield’s Amie’s Dini galloped 1 ½ miles around the Churchill Downs oval prior to the renovation break Friday. Trainer Ron Moquett said the dark bay daughter of Bandini, who was most recently second behind Mamma Kimbo in the Fantasy (GII) at Oaklawn Park, is scheduled to work Saturday under Jon Court, who will have the mount in the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (GI).
Mike Walker and Lou Sutterfield’s Amie’s Dini galloped 1 7/8 miles under Laura Moquett during the 15-minute period following the renovation break from 8:30-8:45 a.m. (all times Eastern) when the track is reserved for training by Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) and Kentucky Oaks (GI) contenders.
Trainer Ron Moquett said Amie’s Dini, second behind Mamma Kimbo in the Fantasy (GII), will work Friday or Saturday depending on the weather and condition of the track.
Undefeated Mamma Kimbo has been withdrawn from consideration for next Friday's Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs.
The bay daughter of Discreet Cat was scheduled to start in the nine-furlong contest off a 1 1/4-length victory in the Grade 2 Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park on April 11. Trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, Mamma Kimbo opened her career on February 18 at Santa Anita, taking her maiden debut by 5 1/4 lengths.
With Mamma Kimbo out, Grade 3 scorer Sacristy has been thrown in the mix for mutual owner John Fort's Peachtree Venture.
The hottest new Kentucky Derby party continues to heat up as 19 top international chefs announce their menu offerings and wine pairings for the third annual Taste of Derby – the Official Kentucky Derby Party of Churchill Downs. At this celebration of cuisine and racing on Thursday, May 3, the eve of the Kentucky Oaks, guests will mingle with horse racing and Hollywood celebrities and savor exquisite cuisine and delectable wines from racing destinations across the country as internationally-renowned chefs serve samples of their regional specialties.
Mike Walker and Lou Sutterfield’s Amie’s Dini, runner-up in the Honeybee (Grade III) and Fantasy (GII) at Oaklawn Park for trainer Ron Moquett, galloped 1 ½ miles under Laura Moquett during the 15-minute period following the renovation break from 8:30-8:45 a.m. (all times Eastern) when the track is reserved for training by Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum Brands (GI) and Kentucky Oaks (GI) contenders.