In the $195,084 Natalma S. (Can-G3) at Woodbine, Robert S. Evans' homebred NEW NORMAL (Forestry) led throughout to take the one-mile feature by 1 1/2 lengths under Javier Castellano. Establishing splits of :23 4/5, :47 4/5 and 1:12 1/5, New Normal maintained a one-length advantage much of the way, turned back a brief challenge by Dos Lunas (Hennessy) a furlong out, and pulled away again to finish in 1:36 2/5.
Eldon Farm Equine's JUST LOUISE (Five Star Day) prevailed in a thrilling 110th running of Saturday's $108,800 Debutante S. (G3), winning by a neck over the fast-closing Tristanme (Bwana Charlie) following a prolonged stretch battle with 3-5 favorite Salty Strike (Smart Strike). Making her stakes debut for Dale Romans, the juvenile filly remained perfect in two starts at Churchill Downs and completed six furlongs in 1:11 4/5 beneath Robby Albarado.
E. Paul Robsham Stable's homebred R HEAT LIGHTNING (Trippi) was content to allow the rest of the field to go on during the early running of Sunday's $250,000 Spinaway S. (G1) at Saratoga, but was determined to be first under the wire for trainer Todd Pletcher.
In an explosive move reminiscent of her maiden win at Del Mar on August 15, Ike and Dawn Thrash's TELL A KELLY (Tapit) inhaled 5-2 favorite Wickedly Perfect (Congrats) in midstretch of Saturday's $250,000 Darley Debutante S. (G1) and burst clear to a 4 1/2-length victory. By emphatically brushing aside the hitherto unbeaten Sorrento S. (G3) winner, Tell a Kelly stamped herself as a serious juvenile.
MainGate Inc., the premier event retail and online merchandising company in the country, and Churchill Downs, home of the world’s most legendary racetrack and the Kentucky Derby, announce a three-year partnership for MainGate to be an official licensee, handle official off-site retail locations and to launch the new Kentucky Derby e-commerce website, KentuckyDerbyStore.com.
Once again, the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) is likely to serve as a preview of the Kentucky Oaks (G1) five weeks later on April 30.
On Saturday morning, the connections of the first four horses under the wire in Friday's 44th running of the Fair Grounds Oaks all admitted that the Kentucky Oaks is their next planned target, and the fact that four of the last five Fair Grounds Oaks winners have gone on to win the Kentucky Oaks underlines the strong connection between the two events.