Despite an initial early challenge in Saturday's Grade 3, $147,000 Cicada Stakes, Agave Kiss easily ran away with the six-furlong contest to move her career record to a perfect four-for-four under jockey Ryan Curatolo. The Rudy Rodriguez trainee was made the 1-4 prohibitive favorite by the betting public and delivered when crossing under the wire three lengths the best.
There will be no change in the price of general admission tickets for the 138th runnings of Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands and Kentucky Oaks if tickets are purchased online and in advance of those events, but the ticket price will be higher for walk-up purchases at admission gates on those respective days.
Kentucky Oaks hopeful Dixie Strike tops Sunday's Grade 3, $150,000 Herecomesthebride Stakes on the turf at Gulfstream Park. The Mark Casse pupil raced exclusively over Woodbine's Polytrack as a juvenile, capping her 2011 campaign with a 5 1/2-length triumph in the Ontario Lassie. Trying turf for the first time in the February 4 Florida Oaks at Tampa, she got up in time for a last-gasp victory. Jose Lezcano will attempt to go two-for-two aboard Dixie Strike, who has drawn post 5.
On Fire Baby will return to the distaff ranks on Saturday when she faces seven rivals in Oaklawn Park's Grade 3, $125,000 Honeybee Stakes going 1 1/16 miles. The dual Grade 2 heroine, who is nominated to both the Triple Crown races and Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, could use the race as a springboard to either the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby against the boys or stay with the fillies in the Grade 2 Fantasy Stakes.
A strong mix of accomplished stars headed by major stakes performers Grace Hall and On Fire Baby and exciting newcomers led by the Bob Baffert-trained trio of Eden’s Moon, Princess Arabella and Mamma Kimbo comprise the list of 94 3-year-old fillies nominated to compete in the 138th running of the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) on Friday, May 4 at Churchill Downs.
Agave Kiss will face just four rivals while making her graded debut in Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Cicada Stakes going six furlongs on Aqueduct's inner dirt.
The unbeaten daughter of Lion Heart hasn't competed since taking the Ruthless Stakes by 3 1/4 lengths on January 14, and was originally scheduled to go in the February 11 Dearly Precious Stakes.
However, with an eye on Grade 1 races like the $300,000 Prioress and $500,000 Test at Saratoga in August, trainer Rudy Rodriguez decided to bypass the Dearly Precious and await the Cicada with Agave Kiss.
Churchill Downs Racetrack will be aglow in pink again for the 138th running of the Kentucky Oaks – America’s premier race for 3-year-old fillies on Friday, May 4 and annual celebration of food, fashion and fun – as the springtime event welcomes a new beneficiary in Stand Up To Cancer (“SU2C”) to raise vital funds and awareness for cancer research.
Although fans of the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) made the “All Others” (#24) betting interest the overall favorite in Churchill Downs’ 2012 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (“KOFW”), they recognized Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s opportunities to win America’s premier race for 3-year-old fillies for a second consecutive year by placing his young stars Princess Arabella (#18) and Eden’s Moon (#9) among the individual favorites when the Oaks Future pool ended its three-d
Martha Washington Stakes winner Amie's Dini showed she's ready for a showdown in the Grade 3, $125,000 Honeybee Stakes with fellow top filly On Fire Baby with a quick half-mile breeze Sunday at Oaklawn Park.
Under jockey Jon Court, the quick-footed daughter of Bandini sizzled through five furlongs in a bullet :59 2/5. As fast as the drill was, trainer Ron Moquett believes there's more in the tank.
Eden's Moon was an easy winner of Saturday's $250,000 Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita Park, but the talented bay miss had to survive an objection lodged by runner-up Reneesgotzip's trainer before she could give owner Kaleem Shah his first Grade 1 victory.
Sagamore Farm's Millionreasonswhy made her sophomore bow a winning one on Saturday when capturing the $77,750 Wide Country Stakes at Laurel Park by 1 1/4 lengths with jockey Horacio Karamanos in the irons.
The bay miss went ran three wide around the turn after stalking the pace on the backstretch, grabbed command on the outside of 4-5 favorite Dance to Bristol and drew off under a hand ride to complete seven furlongs on the good dirt in 1:24.
For the second consecutive year America’s reigning champion 2-year-old filly is missing from the 24 wagering interests in Churchill Downs’ lone Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (“KOFW”) pool, a development that has left “All Others” (#24) as a strong early favorite over a wide-open group of 23 promising 3-year-old fillies included in the three-day betting pool that opens on Friday, March 2.
Peras International's Yara was sent off the 64-1 second longest shot in Saturday's Grade 2, $350,000 Davona Dale Stakes at Gulfstream Park, but dueled 4-5 favorite Grace Hall into a neck loss when crossing under the wire first. The Put It Back filly paid out huge to her backers, returning $131, $38 and $14.40 for the victory under jockey Jesus Castanon.
Summer Applause earned even-money favoritism in the January 21 Silverbulletday Stakes following an dominating seven-length victory in her Fair Grounds debut against optional claiming rivals on New Year's Eve, but could do no better than second on that day while making her first start for new trainer Bret Calhoun. One month later and the public jumped ship on the bay lass as she was sent off the 3-1 third choice in Saturday's Grade 3, $194,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes.
For much of Thursday's Group 3, $250,000 U.A.E. Oaks, runaway pacesetter Mary Fildes threatened to pull a shocker. But Godolphin's Falls of Lora rallied from well back to foil the audacious front runner, handing the team its incredible eighth victory in just 12 runnings of the fillies' classic.
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies runner-up Grace Hall is set to launch her sophomore campaign on Saturday as the probable favorite and horse to beat in the Grade 2, $250,000 Davona Dale Stakes at Gulfstream Park. The 1 1/16-mile race has drawn nine total runners, including Disposablepleasure, who will be Grace Hall's main threat.
Saturday's Grade 3 Rachel Alexandra at Fair Grounds lost an entrant Monday when the undefeated sophomore filly Applauding was withdrawn following a four-furlong breeze in :50 4/5 over the fast main track at Fair Grounds.
"She didn't work to my satisfaction and I'm going to scratch her," trainer Al Stall Jr. said. "She just wasn't herself. I don't know if something's bugging her internally or what. She just wasn't right."
Believe You Can will only have to contend with six rivals in Saturday's Grade 3, $200,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes at Fair Grounds, but her biggest threat looks to come from a filly making her stakes bow in the 1 1/16-mile race.